KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Future Medicare Beneficiaries May Face Benefits Cap; Super Committee Fallout Continues

News outlets report on the continuing health care fallout from the super committee failure.

The New York Times: Support Builds for a Plan to Rein In Medicare Costs
Though it reached no agreement, the special Congressional committee on deficit reduction built a case for major structural changes in Medicare that would limit the government’s open-ended financial commitment to the program ... Members of both parties told the panel that Medicare should offer a fixed amount of money to each beneficiary to buy coverage from competing private plans, whose costs and benefits would be tightly regulated by the government ... The idea is sometimes known as premium support, because Medicare would subsidize premiums charged by private insurers (Pear, 11/24).

Related, earlier KHN story: Affluent Seniors Could Take A Hit On Medicare (Carey and Werber Serafini, 11/13)

The Washington Post: Debt Supercommittee Might Turn Out To Be A Useful Failure
Thanks to the failed supercommittee, lawmakers may have a better sense of how the two sides could eventually agree. ... The supercommittee did reveal that Republicans may be amenable to some tax increases ... On the other side, Democrats showed they might agree to cuts in cherished federal benefit programs. One offer from the committee’s Democrats included as much as $500 billion in cuts to Medicare and other federal health programs (Fahrenthold and Sonmez, 11/23).

The Associated Press/NPR: Gang Of Six To Resume Work On Cutting Debt 
U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss said Wednesday that the failure of a deficit-cutting supercommittee to strike a deal means the so-called Gang of Six is back in business. ... That sweeping deficit-reduction plan included reforms to entitlements, deep spending cuts and additional revenues (11/23).

The Washington Post: States Expect Budgetary Fallout From 'Supercomittee' Failure
In the malleable world of federal budgeting, members of Congress cast the breakdown as likely having little to no effect on federal spending over the coming year. ... But in state capitals, where legislatures are bound by requirements to balance budgets, the committee’s failure cocked a trigger on $1.2 trillion in cuts that must, by law, be built into spending plans that governors will begin releasing within weeks. ... Virginia’s Department of Health and Human Resources faces potential cuts of $62.6 million, including $9.2 million in nutrition programs for women, infants and children and $2.5 million in Ryan White Act HIV/AIDS drugs and services. ... The automatic spending cuts do not affect federal Medicaid contributions (Davis and Vozzella, 11/24). 

Related, earlier KHN story: Health Programs Facing Cutbacks After Super Committee’s Failure (Werber Serafini and Carey, 11/21)

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