What: President Barack Obama’s budget next week will steer clear of major cuts to Medicaid, including tens of billions in reductions to the health care plan for the poor that the administration had proposed only last year. The president’s budget is to be released next Wednesday.
Perhaps half the nearly 30 million people gaining health insurance under the law are to be covered through Medicaid. But the Supreme Court last year gave individual states the right to reject the expansion. A principal argument against the expansion in state capitals is that Washington cannot be trusted to keep its promise of generous funding for new Medicaid recipients.
In recent weeks, senior White House officials have gone out of their way to reassure activists that Medicaid will be protected in the budget.
Why: Big cuts in the federal-state program wouldn’t go over too well at a time that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is wooing financially skittish Republican governors to expand Medicaid coverage to millions who now are uninsured. That expansion in the states is critical to the success of Obama’s health overhaul, which is rolling out this fall and early next year.