KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Panel Gets Earful Of Advice On Taming The Federal Deficit

Among the messages to the super committee members: caution. Meanwhile, Democratic governors expressed fears about deep cuts in federal aid to their states, especially regarding Medicaid and other entitlement programs. Hospital advocacy groups also carried a similar message about treading lightly in regard to trimming Medicaid funding.

The Associated Press: Lawmakers Advise Super Committee To Be Cautious
Congress flooded its super committee with a jumble of advice Thursday about taming the government's out-of-control debt, with top agriculture lawmakers readying a bipartisan plan to pare food and farm aid while others urged an aggressive hunt for savings coupled with warnings against cutting cherished programs. Most of the suggestions came from Democrats on 16 Republican-run House committees who sent letters to the special debt-cutting panel. Generally, their advice was to create jobs, raise revenue and avoid damaging cuts to public works, health care and other programs they said are crucial to an economic recovery (Fram, 10/13).

USA Today: Congress Funnels Deficit-Cutting Ideas To Super Committee
When it set up a super committee to find $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction, Congress also asked other committees to weigh in with advice about what spending to cut. Today is the deadline for those recommendations. And much of the advice so far is about what not to cut (Korte, 10/14).

Politico: Dem Govs Lobby Super Committee
Fearing deep cuts in federal support to their states, several Democratic governors set up a series of meetings Thursday to lobby super committee members and White House officials. Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, and Govs. Mark Dayton of Minnesota and Christine Gregoire of Washington met separately with the Senate Democratic super committee members and the House Democratic super committee members in the Capitol. Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, a close ally of President Barack Obama, was expected to join the calls by telephone. Later in the day, the governors had scheduled a meeting with White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley (Allen, 10/13).

The Washington Post: Dem Governors Huddle With Debt Super Committee Members
A quartet of Democratic governors is huddling Thursday with members of Congress's debt-reduction super committee on Capitol Hill, urging lawmakers on the panel to focus on job creation and avoid making cuts or changes to entitlement programs that would result in a greater burden on the states. … In a letter to the super committee's members, O'Malley, who last December was elected to head the DGA, backed the White House's call for a debt-reduction package including both cuts and revenue increases. He also urged the panel's members not to avoid changes to Medicaid that would increase the burden on state governments (Sonmez, 10/13).

National Journal: Democratic Governors Ask Committee Not To Pass Medicaid Costs To States
Two Democratic governors met privately on Thursday with Democratic members of the deficit-reduction super committee, urging against any effort to shift Medicaid-related costs and other expenses to the states. In attendance was Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, chairman of the Democratic Governors' Association, and Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick joined by telephone. Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire was slated to join the meeting, which was organized by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who attended, but couldn't make it. The governors' main message to the Democratic members of the deficit panel was about Medicaid-related costs and who is responsible for them, but they also pressed job creation in general and aspects of Obama’s defeated jobs bill (House, 10/13).

Modern Healthcare: Deficit-Reduction Panel Urged to Spare Medicaid
Leading hospital advocacy groups urged the deficit-reduction super committee to omit Medicaid cuts from any final proposal for at least $1.2 trillion in savings over 10 years. Specifically criticized were proposals to switch the various state Medicaid federal medical assistance percentages into a single "blended rate" and another to limit states' use of provider taxes. Both approaches would effectively shift more of the financial burden for the state-federal insurance program for low-income beneficiaries onto the states, according to the Oct. 12 letter to the panel from the hospital advocacy groups. Such existing proposals that have received budget savings estimates from federal scorekeeping entities are expected to receive the most serious consideration by the deficit panel, according to other members of Congress and outside observers (Daly, 10/13).

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