Debt Deal Passes: Uncertainty Remains (Poll)

Updated August 8, 2011

There was much uncertainty about the implications for individuals with disabilities if Congress and the President didn’t agree on the Debt Deal. With the debt plan now approved, we’re left to figure out what impact the current plan will have on the disability community. Here’s a roundup from recent news:

Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue says disability benefits – including Supplemental Security Income – will be paid on schedule. LINK

Medicaid and other entitlements are safe from initial cuts, but the deal calls for a commission to establish a plan by the end of the year to reduce spending by $1.5 trillion. Some say entitlement programs may be a likely target. LINK

Medicaid may need a new funding formula that would reduce the amount of federal money states get for health needs. LINK

The cuts could also take the form of waiving the requirement that states maintain their current levels of eligibility, which would allow states to trim their rolls. LINK

A commission will propose $1.5 trillion in additional cuts. If an agreement cannot be made, the federal budget will automatically be cut by $1.2 trillion. Social Security and Medicaid are exempt from the automatic cuts, though Medicare is not. The plan would make cuts to providers rather than beneficiaries, but it’s safe to assume that would be passed down in the form of fewer services. LINK

How did it come to this?

Here’s how the Washington Post summed it up:

The entitlement programs face funding shortfalls in coming years, Medicare more so than Social Security. But many Democrats are dismayed that the programs are being targeted to close deficits that nonpartisan budget analysts say are driven in large part by the tax cuts passed in 2001 and 2003. Better, these Democrats say, to address the future entitlement shortfalls separately. But with Republicans refusing to consider tax increases, the entitlements are an obvious place to look for budget savings. And Obama appears eager to use the dept-ceiling talks to address the longer-term entitlement problem.

TASH is asking blog readers to let us know their concerns about the impact of the debt ceiling on the disability community. Please take a moment to provide your feedback.

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