Heartland Institute Experts React to House GOP Budget Proposal

Rep. Tom Price, chairman of the House Budget Committee, unveiled a 2016 budget today that would, among many things, repeal the Affordable Care Act, block-grant Medicaid to the states, partially privatize Medicare, and cut $5.5 trillion in projected spending over the next decade.

The following statements from budget and health care policy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at [email protected] and 312/377-4000 or (cell) 312/731-9364.

“This new House budget, to be followed by a similar Senate budget this week, shows the passing of the Age of Obama and the broad gulf of difference between today’s conservative Republicans and the modern, ultra-Left, extremist, neo-socialist Democrats. Reagan-like, the plan would balance the budget without tax increases, while modernizing our increasingly dangerously lagging military.”

Peter Ferrara
Senior Fellow for Entitlement and Budget Policy
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

Mr. Ferrara is author of ‘Power to the People,’ to be published this spring and ‘America’s Ticking Bankruptcy Bomb’ (2011).

“The majority of Rep. Tom Price’s (R-GA) proposed budget cuts come from repealing President Obama’s costly and ineffective ‘Affordable Care Act’ and overhauling Medicare. Nearly 85 percent of all spending increases over the next 10 years is driven by Social Security, Medicare, and net interest payments, and Price’s budget plan is a step in the right direction.

“By converting Medicaid into a lump-sum, ‘block grant’ program, freedom to tailor entitlement programs to the needs and wishes unique to individual states is devolved to those states. Likewise, the responsibility for cost overruns is returned to states.

“In the 1990s, welfare assistance was converted to a block grant program, with none of the ill effects naysayers predicted. It worked then, and it’ll work today.”

Jesse Hathaway
Managing Editor
Budget & Tax News
Research Fellow
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“Let’s not repeat the Obamacare mistake of approving of something without reading the final version. There seem to be some good first steps, such as block-granting Medicaid to the states. But even Republicans aren’t admitting that their budget also involves fighting over money that we don’t have, that the Federal Reserve will create out of faith and credit.

“Medicare premium support assumes the existence of private insurance to support, but that market was destroyed in 1965. ‘Medicare Advantage’ is managed-care prepayment for consumption of whatever the plan approves. Also absent is recognition of the crushing burden of regulation, especially EPA rules to destroy a huge portion of our electrical generating capacity, with heavy subsidization of costly, unreliable, environmentally destructive wind and solar projects that can’t possibly replace coal, nuclear, or natural gas. Or recognition of the destructive impact of the Department of Education. How about devolving environmental protection and education back to the states too, along with Medicaid.

“If Republicans won’t even tell the public about the true extent of acknowledged and unacknowledged liabilities, or the true cost of regulation (not offset by bogus ‘benefits’), how will they ever get us on the right track?

“And why not include in budget reconciliation a provision that all department heads present an honest accounting, which would meet reporting requirements imposed on private entities, or be fired?”

Jane M. Orient, M.D.
Executive Director
Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
Policy Advisor, The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“The Republican budget released today includes block grants to states, a promising start to getting Medicaid costs under control and giving states the flexibility to reform, repair, innovate, and experiment with Medicaid is vital to the health of millions of poor Americans. It will be important that House Republicans follow through on their promise to provide much greater flexibility to states in designing Medicaid benefits, and not merely give the illusion of block grants while bureaucrats in Washington DC continue to stymie real reform.”

Sean Parnell
Managing Editor, Health Care News
Research fellow, Health Care
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

The Heartland Institute is a 31-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.