KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

House OKs Ryan Budget — With Medicare Changes; Entitlement Program Cuts

The budget blueprint, advanced by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is unlikely to gain passage in the Senate but will be a key marker in the upcoming election season. 

The Washington Post: House Approves $3.5 Trillion Budget Plan Proposed By Paul Ryan
The Ryan plan, which proposes cutting tax rates and a dramatic revamping of Medicare to curb costs for future retirees, faces all but certain rejection in the Senate but will frame the parties' election-year debate on fiscal issues. The plan cuts $5.3 trillion over the next decade — entirely through deep cuts in entitlements and agency spending (Helderman and Kane, 3/29).

The New York Times: House Passes GOP Budget Plan, Mostly Along Party Lines
A fierce two-day debate over a Republican budget plan portrayed as either a path to prosperity or a road to ruin ended Thursday with House passage of a blueprint that would transform Medicare, cut domestic spending to levels not seen since World War II and order up a drastic overhaul of the tax code (Weisman, 3/29).

The Wall Street Journal: House Approves Ryan's Budget Plan
The 2013 budget by Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, stakes out a clear Republican position by proposing to cut spending, reduce taxes, and overhaul Medicare and Medicaid (Bendavid and Paletta, 3/29). 

Market Watch: House Passes Ryan Budget Plan
House Republicans threw their support behind Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan on Thursday, ramping up an election-year clash with Democrats over Medicare and federal spending. ... No Democrats voted for the Ryan budget on Thursday. Democrats assail it for what they say is an assault on Medicare, the medical care program for the elderly. House Budget Committee Chairman Ryan and other Republicans say that their plan to turn Medicare into a voucher-style program for future — not current — retirees will save it from going bankrupt as more U.S. seniors participate (Schroeder, 3/29).

The Hill: House Republican Rips 'Drastic' Medicare Cuts In Ryan Budget
Rep. David McKinley (R-W. Va.) slammed the Medicare cuts in House Republicans' budget resolution Thursday, saying he couldn't support the plan because it cut Medicare but still would not balance the budget. McKinley was one of 10 Republicans to vote against Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) budget proposal, which passed the House 228-191. In a statement Thursday, McKinley emphasized that he has voted to cut more than $5 trillion in government spending, but said the House budget was unacceptable (Baker, 3/29).

MedPage Today: House Passes Ryan's Medicare Overhaul Bill
Once a beneficiary chooses a plan, the government would send that plan a "premium support" payment equal to either the cost of traditional Medicare or the second least-expensive private plan, whichever is less. Beneficiaries who chose a plan costing more than the amount of the premium support payment would have to make up the difference (Walker, 3/29). 

Reuters: House Vote Sets Up Republican Budget As Manifesto, Target
House Republicans passed congressman Paul Ryan's deficit-cutting budget plan on Thursday, setting it up as a central theme for their election-year campaign efforts and as a target for Democratic attacks over its proposed healthcare cuts. In a preview of the messages they will carry home to their constituents during a two-week break, Republicans hailed the plan as a bold step toward reining in U.S. deficits, while Democrats decried it as an assault on the cherished Medicare healthcare system for the elderly (Lawder, 3/29).

The Associated Press: Dems, GOP Lawmakers Sell Budgets Back Home
Republicans and Democrats are selling their budget plans back home as models for how they would run Washington if they win the November elections. With the presidency and the majorities of Congress at stake, House Republicans are showing off their $3.5 trillion plan, which passed Thursday on a near-party-line 228-191 vote, to slash the deficit and the size of government by far more than Democrats want. Democrats, meanwhile, insist on imposing higher taxes on the rich and preserving Medicare, transportation, research and other programs they say are jeopardized by the Republicans (Kellman, 3/30).

The Fiscal Times: The Battle Of The Budgets: More Hype Than Hope
Perhaps the starkest contrast between the two plans comes in their competing ideas for how to contend with the growing costs of health care for the elderly and poor. Ryan proposes repealing Obama's signature health care law and overhauling Medicare, Medicaid, and cutting back other entitlement health spending programs. Over ten years, his plan cuts Medicare by $205 billion, and Medicaid and smaller health programs by $770 billion. ... (Rep. Chris) Van Hollen's proposal, on the other hand, largely leaves Medicare and Medicaid untouched, and defers to cost-saving provisions of Obama's health care law to control Medicare costs for seniors (Hirsch, 3/29). 

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