Observers skeptical of House Republicans' call to cut $2 trillion in Medicaid, Medicare

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A budget plan released Tuesday by House Republicans would cut close to $2 trillion from federal healthcare programs — but it's unlikely to get very far in the legislative process, observers say.

The House's Fiscal Year 2018 budget blueprint, dubbed “Building a Better America,” would reportedly achieve a $6.5 trillion deficit reduction over the next decade.

Among the resolution's cuts would be $800 billion slashed from planned Medicaid payments, assuming the House-passed healthcare bill is signed into law. Further pullbacks of Medicaid would be made through work requirements for certain beneficiaries, instituting state block grants, and enhancing reporting on improper payments.

The plan also would reform the Medicare program to allow beneficiaries to choose between traditional Medicare and private healthcare plans, and to file digital advance care plans. It also champions tort reform to curb “abusive and frivolous lawsuits.”

An amendment was proposed to change to plan not to assume the House-passed bill becomes law, but it was voted against by Republican lawmakers.

The resolution's massive proposed cuts to non-defense spending make it unappealing to Democratic lawmakers as well as some Republicans, Emily Holubowich, executive director for the Coalition for Health Funding, told Bloomberg BNA. “We've been through this before and we know how it ends,” she said.

The House Budget Committee was conducting a markup of the resolution as of production deadline Wednesday.