Let’s Cut the Crap: Trumpcare Cuts Medicaid Spending a Ton

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Every tedious old argument in the world is being regurgitated lately in service of the final, desperate defense of the Republican health care bill. The latest hotness is the old “we’re not cutting, we’re just slowing the rate of growth” argument for Medicaid. So let’s make this easy. Here’s the basic chart of federal Medicaid spending since 2000:

Sure enough, spending continues to rise under BCRA. But even a high school freshman knows that you have to adjust for inflation in any time series like this. Here’s the chart for real spending:

There’s a reason this is called real spending. As you can see, Medicaid spending isn’t “slowing down,” it’s being cut. Spending in 2026 is 18 percent lower than spending in 2017. And here’s the result:

The CBO estimates that the reduced spending will result in 15 million fewer people receiving Medicaid. Unsurprisingly, that’s a reduction of about 18 percent. It’s pretty simple.

NOTE: Historical Medicaid spending from CMS here (NHE Table 3). CBO spending projection here (page 13). CPI-M here. I used a conservative 3 percent as the CPI-M over the next decade—a bit lower than the average over the past decade. CBO Medicaid enrollment projection here (page 17).

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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