Biden budget: Boost to Medicaid spending suggests he’s not serious about curbing debt growth

President Biden again promised not to cut Medicare and Social Security during his budget address in Pennsylvania yesterday. But what about that other major entitlement program driving up the federal deficit, Medicaid?

Elise Amez-Droz and I reviewed Biden’s proposed Medicaid changes and posted an article summarizing and assessing them at Elise is a Program Manager for the Open Health program at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Here’s a quick summary of the main Medicaid changes Biden’s budget proposes with their cost or savings over ten years:

  • Create a new “Medicaid-like” entitlement in states that have not expanded Medicaid to able-bodied adults without children ($200 billion cost);
  • Expand funding for home and community based long term care by ($150 billion cost);
  • Give the federal government authority to “negotiate” additional Medicaid drug rebates on behalf of states ($7.6 billion savings);
  • Require Medicaid managed care plans to reimburse the federal government when the premiums they’re paid exceed a certain level of the claims they pay ($21.7 billion savings); and
  • Force states to extend pregnancy-related Medicaid coverage through 12 months postpartum ($2.4 billion cost).

In our assessment, we note how these new initiatives would add hundreds of billions of dollars to the deficit. Knowing Medicaid is a key driver of debt growth, these proposals to feed further growth in Medicaid spending gives us “cause to doubt the sincerity of his intention to curb debt growth.”

Reading the full post at