KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Dems, GOP Ready To Wage New Budget Fights, Even Inside Their Own Parties — And Medicare Is In The Mix

Democrats and Republicans aren't just fighting each other, they're also dealing with intra-party squabbles over the latest plan to come together to find an accord to fix the nation's budget woes. The decisions are sure to involve Medicare as a 29-member panel has until Dec. 13 to reach an agreement to present.

Los Angeles Times: In New Budget Talks, Each Side Has A Motive To Reach A Deal
Interest in a big fix for the nation's budget has faded among Democrats because many no longer believe it is necessary or worth the political perils. … For Republicans, the idea of cutting expensive programs for retirees draws support from many party leaders, but divides the rank and file. The GOP has grown much more dependent on the votes of Americans older than 65 and on lower-income whites, groups that want to preserve Social Security and Medicare. Although the politics have shifted as the battered GOP struggles to regroup amid deep internal divisions, the nation's budget problems remain difficult and economically daunting: The country is on a budget trajectory that, while substantially improved from the recent recession, remains unsustainable (Mascaro, 10/19).

The Wall Street Journal: Budget Discord Simmers Among Democrats
But with eyes now turning toward a newly formed budget committee, some liberal lawmakers and groups are worried that Democrats will negotiate cuts to Social Security benefits and other entitlement programs. The president's budget blueprint, which was released in April, proposed slowing the growth of Social Security spending by using a new measure of inflation -- an idea that drew a rebuke from some lawmakers and liberal groups (Nicholas and Nelson, 10/20).

Medpage Today: Tough Medicare Decisions Await Budget Panel
Led by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray, D-Wash., and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the 29-member panel has a Dec. 13 deadline to reach consensus, a timeframe that seems optimistic considering the bitter partisan showdown over the health law that resulted in a 16-day shutdown of the government and risked federal default. … In a joint statement, Murray and Ryan pledged to work together to find a way around the automatic spending cuts known as "sequestration" now governing federal spending. "We hope we can reduce the deficit in a smarter way. We hope to restore stability to the budget process and end the lurching from crisis to crisis," they said (10/20).

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