KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Despite Campaign Rhetoric, Medicare Deal May Be Possible

Still, some say Mitt Romney, if elected president, couldn't deliver on his promise to cut the budget without harming health care programs.

The New York Times: In Presidential Race's Give-And-Take, Hope For A Fiscal Compromise
The potential breakthrough in question is the sort that the Simpson-Bowles commission proposed in 2010: roughly $4 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years in a compromise requiring Republicans to accept tax increases and Democrats big changes in Medicare and other entitlement programs. ... A growing group of Senate Democrats is concluding that overhauling Medicare through a premium support option “makes an awful lot of sense,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (Harwood, 4/22).

The Associated Press: Romney On Spending: Guns Trump Butter
Reducing government deficits Mitt Romney's way would mean less money for health care for the poor and disabled and big cuts to nuts-and-bolts functions such as food inspection, border security and education. ... He generally endorses a plan by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to gradually transform Medicare from a program that directly pays hospital and doctor bills into vouchers for subsidizing future beneficiaries in buying health insurance (Taylor, 4/23).

The Wall Street Journal: Budget Promise Proves Tough Test
During his long primary campaign, Mitt Romney vowed to balance the federal budget by 2020 and sharply shrink spending by 2016. He pledged to do so without cutting Social Security or Medicare benefits, two of the main drivers of federal spending ... These twin promises are causing some headaches for his economic-policy team. ... To cut $500 billion from projected spending in 2016 as promised, Mr. Romney might have to reduce all other federal spending by 25%, including programs such as Medicaid (Paletta and Murray, 4/20).

The New York Times: Conservative Nonprofit Acts as a Stealth Business Lobbyist
ALEC also sends talking points to its lawmakers to use when speaking publicly about issues like President Obama's health care law. Last month, on the day that Supreme Court arguments on the law began, ALEC sent an e-mail to legislators with a bullet-point list of criticisms of it, to be used "in your next radio interview, town hall meeting, op-ed or letter to the editor" (McIntire, 4/21).

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