KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Opinions Abound On Effect Of ‘Gang Of Six’ Proposal On Health Spending

Politico: Rising Above The Debt Ceiling Debate
Without immediate action to raise the debt ceiling, the government will be forced to delay payments on federal obligations we owe. This means failing to pay our troops, delaying Social Security checks and issuing IOU's instead of Medicare payments to hospitals and doctors. ... Medicare has serious problems and it's essential to "bend the curve" of spending. But finding cost savings is different from dismantling the guarantee of health care coverage for 80,000 seniors in my district alone. ... Ensuring that our country pays its bills isn't a gift to Obama, or an endorsement of his agenda. It's a patriotic responsibility shared by everyone in Congress (Rep. Anna Eshoo, 7/20).

The Washington Post: The Gang Of Six: New Hope In The Debt Crisis 
Most details are left unresolved, including some important questions of how to wring more savings out of Medicare and Medicaid. But the thrust follows the lead of Simpson-Bowles to enact cuts while protecting programs for the neediest Americans. ... Meanwhile, the ticking time bomb of the debt ceiling looms (7/19).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: A Second Chance
The Gang of Six proposal would make deep spending cuts over time in domestic and military programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, and close a plethora of tax loopholes while decreasing tax rates overall. That's a sounder, more reasonable approach. Lower tax rates should encourage business growth (7/19). 

CNN: Good News: The Gang Of Six Is Back
The broad details of the Gang of Six plan should hearten anyone whose priority is to reduce the generational theft that is the deficit and the debt. It also offers plenty for tax-cutters to celebrate. ... The Finance Committee would be tasked with Social Security reform as well as reforming Medicare's out of date and expensive "sustainable growth rate formula (John Avlon, 7/20). 

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Spending Cap Bill Is A Political Charade
Republicans pushing the "Cut, Cap and Balance" bill in Washington, D.C., must be betting that voters won't pop open the hood of this rushed and reckless legislation to peer at what's inside. ... voters need to understand that the measure's champions are not only reiterating their support for the highly unpopular Ryan plan, which called for Medicare vouchers, they're saying the Ryan plan did not cut deeply enough (7/19). 

The Fiscal Times: Why Taxpayers Are So Angry-And So Wrong About Spending
The fact is, most people believe they pay far more to the government than they receive in return. To a surprising degree, Americans underestimate their actual consumption of government services and tax breaks. For example For example, 43% of people receiving unemployment insurance deny they receive government benefits, and 40% of those on Medicare answer the same way: They do not use government programs (Mark Thoma, 7/20).

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Health Care Legislation Will Take Millions Off Tax Rolls
The tax credits in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will substantially increase the number of households that do not contribute to the cost of government. In fact, as a direct result of these credits, the number of households without any federal income tax liability likely will exceed half of all American households. If this happens, it may be very difficult to ever get a handle on out-of-control government spending (Brian Blase and Paul Winfree, 7/19).

Houston Chronicle: The Biggest Ideologue Lives In The White House
Obama says that Republicans are rigid ideologues because they won't put "everything on the table." Specifically, they won't consider tax hikes ... If Obama believes the American people are the voice of reason when it comes to tax hikes, why does their opinion count for nothing when it comes to ObamaCare, which has never been popular? (According to a RealClearPolitics average of polls, only 38.6 percent of voters favor the plan.) Why not look for some savings there? (Jonah Goldberg, 7/19).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.