White House will not touch Medicaid in proposed budget

Share this content:
White House will not touch Medicaid in proposed budget
White House will not touch Medicaid in proposed budget

The Obama administration will not cut Medicaid spending in its upcoming 2014 budget proposal, according to senior White House advisor Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council. Sperling spoke Thursday at a Washington, D.C., event sponsored by Families USA, an advocacy group for healthcare consumers.

Although acknowledging President Barack Obama has put Medicaid cuts on the table in the past, Sperling said the program would not be touched in the upcoming budget proposal, which is expected to be released in a few weeks. Instead, the administration will prioritize overall healthcare cost containment through measures that include Accountable Care Organizations and bundled payments.

Sperling spoke the same day the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced more than 500 participants, including more than 165 long-term care operators, will take part in its bundled payment initiative.

Although he did not dismiss the possibility of Medicare cuts, Sperling said the White House budget proposal would not include changes that would simply shift costs.

Medicaid advocates praised Sperling's announcement. However, Matt Salo, executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors, told the Bureau of National Affairs it is “too soon” to be confident Medicaid will be protected. The House of Representatives' budget proposal is likely to include deep cuts to Medicaid and other entitlement programs.