Most lawmakers — Republicans and Democrats alike — have declared the marquee safety-net programs of Medicare and Social Security off-limits for cuts as a divided Washington heads for a showdown over the national debt and government spending. Health programs for lower-income Americans, though, have gotten no such bipartisan assurances.
More than 20 million people gained Medicaid coverage in the past three years after Congress expanded access to the entitlement program during the covid-19 pandemic, swelling Medicaid’s population by about 30%. But enrollment will fall starting in April, when the pandemic-era changes end and states begin cutting coverage for Americans who are no longer eligible.
On Tuesday, President Joe Biden pressured Republicans to release the party’s plans to cut government spending, which are expected to call for deeper cuts to Medicaid — and could offer Americans a preview of Republicans’ wish list should the party gain full power in the 2024 election.
If far-right Republicans “try to take away people’s health care by gutting Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, I will stop them,” Biden said.
Biden and other Democratic leaders have said they want to expand Medicaid, a goal likely to be reflected in the president’s budget proposal out next week. But while top Democrats say they will not negotiate government spending with Republicans when the GOP is refusing to raise the debt ceiling, they have left open the possibility of talks over Medicaid spending at a later date.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the new House Democratic leader, said in January that Democrats are o …