KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Negotiators Set Sights On ‘Grand Debt Deal’

At stake are trillions of dollars in government spending and taxes. One of the proposals in play is an increase in payments by upper-income seniors for Medicare. Sweeping reductions in domestic spending are also on the table. After a Thursday meeting, President Barack Obama and congressional leaders agreed to reconvene Sunday.

The New York Times: Still 'Far Apart' On Debt, 2 Sides Will Seek Broader Cuts
Democrats and Republicans are confronting not only tough choices about how to balance spending cuts and higher taxes, but how best to sell such a package, which would probably challenge basic philosophical tenets of each party, to their rank-and-file members. … With the White House and the lawmakers promising not to divulge details of the talks, the specifics of an eventual deal were not yet clear. But Mr. Obama has put popular entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security on the table, while Speaker John A. Boehner has signaled for the first time his openness to up to $1 trillion in new revenues (Landler and Hulse, 7/7).

Los Angeles Times: Negotiators Consider Grand Bargain On Taxes And Benefits
At issue are hundreds of billions of dollars a year in taxes and government spending. If the largest deal under discussion is agreed to, it could reshape the government's fiscal picture for years to come, with large political implications for both parties. Among the proposals being discussed are a change in the way cost-of-living increases are calculated for Social Security; an increase in the payments that upper-income seniors make for Medicare; an overhaul of the corporate tax system; elimination of a variety of tax breaks that primarily benefit upper-income taxpayers; and significant cuts in the military budget, farm programs and other domestic spending (Mascaro and Parsons, 7/7).

The Wall Street Journal: Sights Set On Grand Debt Deal
President Barack Obama and congressional leaders agreed Thursday to strive for a blockbuster deficit-reduction deal and will spend the weekend determining whether political support is possible for a sweeping plan to curb entitlements and make major tax-code changes (Lee, Hook and Bendavid, 7/8).

The Washington Post: Obama Calls Debt Talks 'Constructive,' Invites Parties To Reconvene Sunday
Obama and Boehner have emerged as the most enthusiastic proponents of a big deal that would save as much as $4 trillion over the next decade by overhauling the tax code and tackling all the major drivers of federal spending, including the Pentagon and health and retirement programs. But such a plan would be complicated both politically and substantively, and aides said Senate leaders in both parties are skeptical that such a deal could come together in the next few days (Montgomery and Kane, 7/7).

National Journal: The End Of Tantrums?
This was never going to be deal day. But it was the day that tantrums ended. And that's not nothing. In fact, it's the essential first step. It's a sign brinkmanship that once threatened to jeopardize the U.S. economy, inflame global bond markets, and stir up a kind of anti-Washington revulsion that would make last year's tea party protests look like Unitarian ice cream socials has come to an end (Garrett, 7/8). 

PBS Newshour: Budget Battle Closes In On Medicare, Medicaid
Few details have emerged from the closed-door deficit reduction talks, but members of both parties now admit one thing: Changes could be on the way for Medicare and Medicaid. For the first time this week, President Obama seems poised to broker a deal that would cut the entitlement programs in exchange for tax hikes. Health industry officials nationwide are bracing for an unknown hit. Mary Agnes Carey of Kaiser Health News has been covering the hand-wringing from Capitol Hill (Kane, 7/7). 

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