GOP Medicare Proposal Keeps Roiling Washington PoliticsLos Angeles Times: GOP Finding It Hard To Make Progress
Six months after Republicans swept the midterm election by promising bold solutions to fiscal woes, they continue to struggle to find a unified voice on key issues and to overcome persistent divisions within the party. ... The problem was underscored last week when Republicans bowed to political realities on their signature issue of entitlement reform, acknowledging that a plan to overhaul and eventually privatize Medicare would not advance anytime soon, and would not be part of a deal with the White House to raise the government's borrowing limit (Hennessey and Mascaro, 5/8).
Politico: Big Medicare Overhaul? Don't Count On It
Confused by what comes after the dueling deficit plans by President Barack Obama and Rep. Paul Ryan? Not sure whether to follow the bipartisan deficit talks led by Vice President Joe Biden, the bipartisan "Gang of Six" talks, or the budget resolution being written by Sen. Kent Conrad, who's also in the "Gang of Six"? Ryan has made front page news with his plans for Medicare and Medicaid. But that's not the same thing as making progress. ... Here are four scenarios for how the budget talks could affect the health care entitlement programs, and the odds that they'll happen, on a scale of 1 to 5 (Nather, 5/7).
The Hill: 'Modest' Medicare Cuts From Conrad To Draw Contrast With GOP
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) is looking to strike a sharp contrast with House Republicans when he unveils his budget proposal in coming days. Conrad told The Hill that he will suggest only modest cuts to Medicare to pay for the so-called doctors' fix - the scheduled cuts to doctors' Medicare payments that Congress delays annually. A Democratic source briefed on the proposal said the health savings in Conrad's budget plan would offset the cost of a multi-year doctors' fix. Conrad would not cut Medicare significantly to pay for deficit reduction, the source said (Bolton, 5/7).
The Washington Post: GOP Lawmakers Restate Commitment To Medicare Overhaul
Senior Republicans said Friday that they are committed to a controversial overhaul of Medicare and will continue to support it as part of their deficit-reduction plan despite strong White House opposition. The late-afternoon proclamation came at the end of a confusing week in which several GOP leaders publicly acknowledged that the most ambitious aspects of the plan would never be enacted, creating the impression they were distancing themselves from the politically unpopular proposal less than three weeks after pushing rank-and-file Republicans to vote for it (Kane and Rucker, 5/7).
The New York Times: House Republicans Express Unity on Budget
(House Speaker John) Boehner said that while the party was not shifting its position, the "political realities"' of divided government did not work to the advantage of the party's Medicare proposal. The Medicare stance took some members of the Republican rank-and-file by surprise and Friday's statement was probably meant as a way to assure lawmakers and party allies that all members of the leadership team were back on the same page (Hulse, 5/6).
The Hill: House Conservatives Prepare Strong Demands To Raise The Debt Ceiling
House conservatives appear comfortable with being unable to get Medicare reform in exchange for the debt ceiling being raised and are coalescing around other strong demands including enactment of a balanced budget amendment. Tea Party-backed freshmen and the Republican Study Committee are reprising their roles, which were established during talks this spring over 2011 spending, pushing leadership to escalate demands (Wasson, 5/7). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.