Once again, federal lawmakers have turned to a familiar tactic to keep the government operating and delay significant decisions to a later date: the Continuing Resolution (CR), a stopgap measure that generally extends federal funding at current levels.
The House and Senate left town last week after passing a CR to keep the government operating through next April, when the new fiscal year will be more than half finished. Many experts warn that CRs are irresponsible, short-sighted measures that merely punt serious fiscal decisions to a later date.
Many politicians, including the president-elect, have focused their efforts to improve the federal government’s finances on the elimination of waste, fraud and abuse.
No sooner had Steven Mnuchin confirmed that he was the President-elect’s pick for Treasury secretary than he raised eyebrows in both parties by saying that the new administration’s tax plan would not give an overall tax cut to high-income households.
How the incoming Trump administration handles health care policy is perhaps the most consequential question hanging over the nation’s budgetary outlook.
That’s why policy analysts are scrambling to read the tea leaves on health care amid conflicting signals. Republicans seem to have one foot on the gas pedal and one foot on the brakes.
National health expenditures grew by 5.8 percent in 2015, pushing health care spending to 17.8 percent of the economy, up from 17.4 percent in 2014. This marks the second year in a row spending has grown more quickly than the economy, following a stable period from 2009 to 2013.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) dramatically altered the individual insurance market by forcing insurers to insure anyone regardless of health status or pre-existing conditions. It also eliminated caps on coverage.
These changes have been popular. When elected officials say they support banning insurance companies from discriminating against individuals with pre-existing conditions, they are supporting this part of the ACA. One of what many people consider the “good parts” of the legislation.