Obama's Affordable Care Act will dramatically increase the size of Medicaid, covering an additional 16 million Americans. During his presidency, the number if people receiving food stamps in 2011 was at a record high at 44.7 million, a 33% increase since 2009. Obama hasn't publicly issued any proposals on Social security reforms.
On to Social Security. The Obama administration hasn’t publicly proposed any reforms for that program, though Obama did so during the 2008 campaign. But numerous media outlets, including The Washington Post, have reported that he discussed adjusting the formula for determining benefit levels while trying to negotiate a deal with Republicans on raising of the nation’s debt ceiling. Some congressional Democrats suggested at the time that the proposal was nothing more than a bargaining strategy that would show Obama’s willingness to compromise and ultimately focus attention on the GOP resistance to tax increases. Nonetheless, it appears that the offer was there for Republicans to work with.
“The president’s recommendation for deficit reduction will not include any changes to Social Security because, as the president has consistently said, he does not believe that Social Security is a driver of our near and medium term deficits," said White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage. "He believes that both parties need to work together on a parallel track to strengthen Social Security for future generations rather than taking a piecemeal approach as part of a deficit reduction plan.”
Obama did make some passing changes to the food stamp program under the stimulus: He waived a three-month waiting requirement for unemployed, childless adults and raised benefit levels for those already eligible. But those changes are temporary and affect only a minority of the overall caseload. There has been a steadily higher share of eligible people applying for food stamps, increasing the participation rate from 65 percent in 2007 to 72 percent in 2009. That’s partly because of a push that began during the Bush administration to streamline the program, reduce paperwork and encourage the eligible to sign up. But as the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities points out, it’s also been because the poor have become even poorer during the recession.
The number of people in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program has soared to an average 44.7 million in fiscal 2011, up 33% from fiscal 2009. Obama's stimulus act made it easier for childless, jobless adults to qualify for the program and increased the monthly benefit by about 15% through 2013.
Medicaid has been the subject of a series of policy struggles between Democrats and Republicans in recent years. In 2010, Democrats succeeded in passing President Obama’s health care law, which plans a vast expansion of Medicaid to cover about half of the nation’s uninsured.
Obama's health care law is set to dramatically increase the size of the federal-state Medicaid program in 2014, expanding eligibility nationwide to all individuals and families earning up to 133 percent of the federal poverty limit, or about $29,000 for a family of four. That addition of 16 million people will require major changes in state programs. Under current law, the federal government foots the total bill for the expansion for two years; after that, some costs shift to the states.
The Affordable Care Act president Obama signed into law in 2010 retains the entitlement structure of Medicare but tinkers with the ways the program pays doctors, hospitals and other providers. Altogether, the law cuts $500 billion over 10 years. The administration's hope is that new payment models and quality incentives will save money and avoid the need to cut benefits or raise premiums. Obama has repeatedly criticized the Republican-backed premium-support system as an effort to "end Medicare as we know it."
"While his budget stabilizes debt over the next decade, the real problem arrives thereafter, as entitlement costs spiral out of control and revenues are inadequate to deal with a wave of retiring baby boomers," former White House budget office director Alice Rivlin and former Senate Budget chairman Pete Domenici said in a statement.
Independent deficit hawks -- as opposed to the political ones seeking votes -- gave mixed reviews to President Obama's 2013 budget proposal.They commended the president for offering measures that would start to move U.S. fiscal policy in a more sustainable direction. But they said his budget as a whole does not go far enough: It fails to really tackle costs for the big entitlement programs such as Medicare, which they say will be essential if lawmakers want to reduce the country's long-term debt.
More than 47 million Medicare beneficiaries now have access to free health services—including an annual wellness visit, mammograms, and other health screenings—to help detect and treat medical conditions early. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, nearly 3.6 million seniors who fell into the Medicare “doughnut hole” last year saved an average of $604 on prescription drugs.