KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Spending Deal Details Emerge, Measure Could Face Rough Ride In The House

As news outlets report on some of the specific cuts counted in the last-minute budget deal, some signs indicate that House consideration of the delicate compromise could be rocky because it doesn't place more limits on abortion funding or "defund" the new health law.   

The Wall Street Journal: Spending Deal Faces Rough Ride In House
The 2011 spending deal sealed to much fanfare by party leaders faces a rough ride in Congress this week. That is especially true in the House, where many conservatives are disappointed that the agreement does not cut more than $38.5 billion this year, and that it doesn't do more to restrict abortion or defund President Barack Obama's health law (Bendavid and O'Connor, 4/12).

The New York Times: Democrats Allow Trims To Favored Programs
President Obama successfully resisted Republican efforts to take all federal money from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. But the spending bill cuts money for the program that finances many family-planning services provided by Planned Parenthood and other organizations, Title X of the Public Health Service Act. The appropriation would be reduced to $300 million, from $317 million, Congressional aides said. … The spending bill would save more than $3 billion by not paying out money set aside for bonuses to states that have increased the enrollment of uninsured children in Medicaid (Steinhauer and Pear, 4/11).

The Washington Post: $38 Billion In Cuts In Budget Deal Will Cover Various Domestic Areas
District officials are livid about some policy provisions attached to the bill, particularly one that would ban federal and local funding for abortion. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) and several members of the D.C. Council led a protest rally Monday on Capitol Hill and were arrested. …  And although Democrats protected funding for some cherished programs, such as Head Start and the implementation of Obama's health care law, they were not able to reduce military spending. … Another cut, $3.5 billion for the Children's Health Insurance Program, would affect only rewards for states that make an extra effort to enroll children. But officials with knowledge of the budget deal said that most states were unlikely to qualify for the bonuses and that sufficient money would be available for those that did (Rucker, 4/11).

The Associated Press: DC's Treatment In Fed Budget Angers Local Leaders
The budget deal lawmakers struck to avoid a government shutdown was greeted by some with relief, but it has one city already reeling: the capital itself. City officials say Washington was used as a pawn last week's budget bargaining, with new restrictions part of the price of a deal. Under the budget agreement reached Friday, the details of which are still uncertain, the city will likely be unable to spend city dollars on abortions for low income women. It may also be banned from spending city money on needle exchange programs believed vital to curbing the spread of HIV in the city, where the disease is considered an epidemic. Also back, a school voucher program favored by Republicans (4/11).

CNNMoney: (Video) 2011 Budget Cuts Revealed
Especially hard hit are the Departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, Commerce, Justice, Labor and Health and Human Services. They all lose billions of dollars in funding. Almost $3 billion for high-speed rail funds are cut, along with roughly $3 billion for highway construction, $6.2 billion in Department of Defense construction projects, and $1 billion from programs that help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Social safety net programs are not spared. WIC, a program that uses federal money to subsidize the food and nutrition needs of children from low-income families, is cut by more than $500 million. Grants to states that help pay for drinking water infrastructure projects are cut by $1 billion (Riley, 4/12).

The Hill: Budget Deal Nixes Centrist Health Care Reform Ideas
A deal on funding the government through the end of the fiscal year would roll back two centrist provisions that made it into the health care reform law after considerable debate. The last-minute agreement reached Friday evening would cut $2.2 billion for health care co-operatives proposed as an alternative to a public option. The deal also strikes Sen. Ron Wyden's (D-Ore.) provision allowing some workers to forgo their employer's health care coverage and opt instead for a contribution to buy insurance on their own in state health insurance exchanges. "Implementing the Affordable Care Act remains a top priority for this Administration and a central piece of our long-term deficit reduction strategy," an administration official told The Hill. "We said at the start of these negotiations that we would oppose any legislative efforts to defund implementation of Affordable Care Act - and the final deal reflects that as the dozen riders to defund Affordable Care Act were eliminated. There are a few changes to health policy in the package, which were the product of a tough negotiation that required some give from both sides" (Pecquet, 4/11).

National Journal: Democrats Win Mandatory Spending Cut In FY11 Deal
A hard-earned compromise that Congress is expected to pass this week to fund the remainder of the fiscal year and cut $38.5 billion from current spending levels contains billions of dollars in cuts to mandatory spending, including $6.8 billion from labor, health, and education programs. The cuts $6.8 billion in labor, health, and education mandatory spending includes $3.5 billion from performance bonuses paid to states for enrolling uninsured children in Medicaid under the 2009 Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization law (Sanchez, Friedman, 4/12).

Kaiser Health News: Health On The Hill: Spending Cuts Agreed To As Entitlement Reform Looms
This week: The fiscal 2011 spending deal reached late last week would remove some minor provisions of the health care law and require that the Senate vote on two measures the House already has approved – denying federal funding for both the health care law and Planned Parenthood (4/11). Watch the video or read the transcript.

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