Paul Krugman’s Monday New York Times column featured a typical rant – typical not least because it’s just plain wrong. He talks about the “savage cuts” associated with conservative proposals to block grant Medicaid – except the “cuts” don’t actually exist.
Don’t believe me? Well, take a look at this chart from the Kaiser Family Foundation’s study on Medicaid, issued last week. The red line below illustrates the supposed “cuts” associated with block grant proposals – and shows that such “cuts” don’t actually exist, because Medicaid spending will increase each and every year under a block grant:
What’s particularly striking about the above chart is that the Kaiser study modeled a block grant proposal that was less generous than Governor Romney’s plan – the House-passed budget linked the growth of the block grant to inflation, whereas Governor Romney’s plan links the growth of Medicaid to inflation plus one percent. So the Kaiser researchers, even as they claimed that their modeling was based on a plan “similar to Governor Romney’s,” cherry-picked (false) assumptions in order to portray block grants in the worst possible light. This partisan hackery also explains why the Kaiser study uses the term “cut” no fewer than 60 times in one 22-page paper – even though both the House-passed budget and Governor Romney’s proposal do NOT reduce Medicaid spending in absolute terms.
Appearing before Congress last year, Secretary Sebelius testified that the Administration believes Obamacare did not “cut” Medicare – it merely slowed the program’s growth rate. If that’s the case, the Secretary, the Administration, and their liberal allies should adopt a truly novel concept – consistency – and not argue that a slowdown in Medicare’s growth rate under Obamacare is not a “cut,” while a slowdown in Medicaid’s growth rate is a “cut.”