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EDITORIAL: Don’t believe the hype about Medicaid ‘cuts’

Progressives have attacked the Trump budget and Senate health care bill as a full of “cuts.” When you hear such beltway rhetoric, it’s important to double-check the math.

While various interests have attacked President Trump’s spending plan for all of its apparent “cuts,” it actually maintains the high levels of spending found during the Obama administration, and contains no actual reduction in the amount of money the government plans to spend. The same holds true for the crushing “cuts” to Medicaid that can supposedly be found in the Senate’s health care bill.

Per the latest Congressional Budget Office estimates, Medicaid spending would rise from $393 billion in 2017 to $464 billion in 2026. That amounts to an increase of 18 percent, or $71 billion. Some cut. Democrats may fret that this increase isn’t as high as the one called for under current law, but it’s hardly an actual reduction in outlays.

“When I was at the White House in 2001, federal Medicaid spending was $129 billion,” Ari Fleischer, former White House press secretary to George W. Bush, told Fox News. “My point is in Washington, spending only goes up. The issue today is how much should Medicaid spending increase — by a lot or by a huge amount? There are no cuts.”

He also commented on Twitter, comparing the increase to a worker who gets a lower-than-expected raise. “Your salary today is $50k,” he tweeted. “Your boss promises it will be $100k in 10 years. Instead, you get $75k. Did you get a $25k raise or a $25k cut?”

Democrats can parse the word “cut” all day long, but spending for Medicaid and other programs — even under the “devastating” Senate proposal — continues its inexorable trend: and that’s up, up and away.

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