Congressman Doyle Votes Against Cuts in Spending for Student Loans, Medicaid, and Child Support Enforcement

February 2, 2006
Press Release

Washington, DC – U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (PA-14)voted against a bill (H.Res. 653) making $39 billion in cuts in health care, student aid, and child support enforcement programs when it was approved by the House of Representatives on a vote of 216 to 214 yesterday.

"Medicaid is our nation's health safety net, the health insurer of last resort for 53 million of our most vulnerable citizens - children, the disabled, and the elderly," Congressman Doyle said. "We shouldn't be cutting Medicaid funding at this time, especially in light of the growing number of Americans who can't afford health insurance."

"I strongly believe that any savings that can be made in the Medicaid should be pumped back into Medicaid to improve quality of care, expand eligibility, and reduce out of pocket costs for the poorest of the poor - not to provide more tax cuts for the wealthy," Doyle added. "The ultimate irony, perhaps, is that these Medicaid cuts won't really save taxpayers any money; in fact, they'll almost certainly cost all of us more in the near future. Research has shown that increasing out of pocket costs for low-income households keeps many people from dealing with serious health problems until they're much further advanced and much more costly to treat. We all pay those higher medical bills - either through higher taxes, higher health insurance premiums, or higher medical bills. I believe that we minimize our own costs by ensuring that Medicaid receives adequate funding each year. That's why I think the proposed Medicaid cuts are foolish and counterproductive, as well as inhumane and unworthy of the greatest nation on earth."

The legislation approved by the House and Senate yesterday would cut Medicaid by $6.9 billion over the next 5 years - and by $28.3 billion over the next 10 years. It would allow states to charge Medicaid enrollees higher co-payments and premiums for the health care they desperately need. Studies have shown that this increased cost-sharing will result in a decline in enrollees' use of health care services and a worsening of their health status.

This bill also makes more than $12 billion in cuts to student aid programs. That's the largest student aid cut ever, raising the cost of college for students and their families through increased interest rates and loan fees. Student Aid falls directly on students and parents. In fact 70 percent of these savings are achieved by increasing college loan costs for parent borrowers and by continuing the practice of forcing student and parent borrowers in many cases to pay excessive interest rates on their loans.

Finally, the bill also makes $6.4 billion in cuts in Medicare, including Medicare Part B premium increases, as well as $1.5 billion from child support enforcement, $320 million from Foster Care, and $712 million from SSI for the elderly and disabled. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated that this bill will result in $8.4 billion in reduced child support collections for hundreds of thousands of struggling single parents who rely on them, pushing more children into poverty and letting deadbeat dads off the hook.

"I find it simply revolting that Congress is cutting aid for some of the most vulnerable and needy Americans," Congressman Doyle said. "It's simply inconceivable to me that the richest country in the world would stand by and watch its own citizens suffer. I will continue to work in the coming months to enact a federal budget that's compassionate as well as fiscally responsible."