Tag Archives: Medicaid

Ryan Budget: Giving States Flexibility Works…But Only to Justify Shredding the Social Safety Net

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. (Wikimedia Commons)

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. (Wikimedia Commons)

The Ryan Budget makes enormous cuts to critical safety net programs that help low-income families access health care and put food on the table. Its author, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), claims that these programs will become more efficient, by transferring control over them from the federal government to the states. This belief in the power of giving states flexibility is central to the Ryan Budget. If the states fail to dramatically improve program efficiency, then the Ryan Budget would shred the social safety net.

Given the stakes, one would expect the Ryan Budget to be deeply committed to the idea of giving states flexibility. However, the budget only supports that concept when it is being used to justify deep spending cuts. The Ryan Budget actually takes a dim view towards programs where states already have flexibility, and is especially critical of decisions by the Obama Administration to delegate more authority to  the states.

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Is this slide the best way to summarize the budget debate?

Ezra Klein is a big fan of this explanation of the budget debate from CBO Director Doug Elmendorf:

slide-budget-debate

I agree that it’s a solid summary of some of the key elements of each budget, but my earlier post on the budget process suggests that Elmendorf’s focus misses the most important part of the budget debate.

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