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In his budget documents, Mr. Toomey placed blame for the government’s poor fiscal health squarely on overspending.

Though he said they needed long-term changes, his budget left Social Security and Medicare largely untouched. Instead, he focused on Medicaid, the federal-state health program for low-income Americans, and called for changing it to a block grant to states, which capped federal spending and then would have given states flexibility to experiment with who they cover, and how.