KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

President’s Budget Expected To Outline Health Law Spending

President Barack Obama's proposed budget will lay out steps to prevent illegal immigrants from obtaining Medicare and is expected to lay out how much has been spent to carry out the health law so far. It will also seek more money for anti-poverty programs.

The New York Times: Crackdown Proposed To Prevent Illegal Immigrants From Obtaining Medicare
The Obama administration is planning new steps to prevent people in the country illegally from obtaining Medicare after finding that tens of thousands were improperly receiving benefits. In President Obama’s budget for 2015, to be unveiled on Tuesday, and in new regulations, the administration proposes to remove illegal immigrants from the Medicare rolls and explicitly require citizenship or lawful presence in the United States as a condition of getting Medicare (Pear, 3/3).

Politico Pro: New Budget May Reveal Old ACA Spending
The Obama administration’s proposed budget documents on Tuesday could provide the clearest picture yet on what federal officials have spent and plan to spend on the Affordable Care Act, a question on which the White House has offered limited details so far. The massive spending bill signed in January to fund the government in 2014 requires HHS to detail the creative accounting it has used to finance the implementation of the federal health care law including the disaster as Republicans have sought to strangle the project by tying off its funding streams. The omnibus requires HHS to include with its 2015 budget request an account of all of the personnel and contracts to administer the law, and how all the money was spent for the federal and state exchanges since the law was signed in 2010 (Norman, 3/3).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Obama’s 2015 Budget Appeals To Democrats
The success that Washington has had in curbing spending over the past several years has come mostly at the expense of “discretionary” spending for agency operating budgets approved by Congress each year. The $521 billion defense budget for this year amounts to 3.5 percent of the size of the economy, according to the Congressional Budget Office, down from 5.4 percent of gross domestic product 40 years ago. Discretionary spending on nondefense programs has dropped from 3.9 percent in 1974 to 3.4 percent today. Meanwhile, autopilot spending on benefit programs like Social Security, Medicare, food stamps and insurance subsidies under the new health care law are growing rapidly as a percentage of the economy (3/3).

The Washington Post: In Budget Proposal, Obama To Seek More Money For Anti-Poverty Programs
The Obama administration budget to be released Tuesday will set the stage for an election-year debate over government’s role in creating economic opportunity, with President Obama calling for more federal spending to help the poor and Republicans charging that such programs waste money and foster dependency. With his budget still being drafted, Ryan declined to say which programs would get the ax. But his report argues that the nearly $800 billion the federal government spends on anti-poverty programs each year should be trimmed. In last year’s GOP budget blueprint, Ryan proposed to sharply slow spending on domestic social programs, such as Medicaid, food stamps and Pell grants for college students (Goldfarb and Costa, 3/3).

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