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House Budget Chairman Releases Poverty Report

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House Budget Chairman Releases Poverty Report

March 7, 2014

On March 3, a day ahead of the Obama administration's release of its FY2015 budget, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) released a report titled, The War on Poverty: 50 Years Later. The report slams many of the federal government's anti-poverty policies over the years, calling into question their effectiveness and highlighting the increased levels of poverty present in the country. "There are nearly 100 programs at the federal level that are meant to help, but they have actually created a poverty trap. There is no coordination with these programs, and new ones are frequently being added without much consideration to how they affect other programs. We’ve got to fix the situation, and this report is a first step toward significant reform,” Ryan said in an interview. Ryan said that the report is a precursor to a GOP-backed budget proposal which will be released later this month. 

Among the major foci in the report is Medicaid. The report characterizes the program as one that has expanded significantly over the decades and which now exceeds the scope of available funding. The report cites statistics of fewer primary care physicians accepting new Medicaid patients, Medicaid reimbursement levels being less than Medicare, and physicians making up for lower reimbursement costs by increasing the number of visits billed for, and other inefficiencies as barriers to access to quality care for Medicaid beneficiaries. The report concludes that Medicaid is not an efficient program and leads to worse health outcomes than people who have other health coverage. 

Source: The Washington Post