KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

GOP Fissures Likely To Emerge With Efforts To Revamp Budget Deal, Medicare

House Republicans appear divided over whether to push for deeper spending cuts in the 2013 budget plan than those agreed upon during last year's debt ceiling deal. Democrats and Republicans are also preparing for a Medicare fight. Meanwhile, some GOP senators have requested a hearing with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to discuss revised cost estimates for the health law.

The New York Times: GOP Split Over A Bid To Revise Budget Deal
The House is bracing for a rancorous showdown over a 2013 budget plan that has already divided Republicans because of a push by conservatives to cut spending below the level both parties agreed to in last year's deal to raise the federal deficit. … The budget blueprint for the coming fiscal year — to be unveiled next week — will also reignite the fight over Medicare, an election-year prospect that has both parties digging in (Weisman, 3/12).

The Hill: GOP Senators Request Budget Hearing With Seblius
Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee want a hearing with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, following an exchange last week in which she was not sure of details about the healthcare law's effect on the deficit. Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) requested the hearing Monday in a letter to Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) They said the committee should look into revised cost estimates for the Affordable Care Act before marking up a budget resolution for next year (Baker, 3/12).

CNN Money: Health Reform's Cost Under Scrutiny
Capitol Hill's official budget cruncher will offer new estimates on Tuesday of one of the most controversial parts of health care reform: the government's cost of covering tens of millions of uninsured Americans. The Congressional Budget Office's estimates will be part of its annual March revision to its budget baseline -- the marker against which any spending and tax proposals are measured. But they also will come just two weeks before the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a landmark case brought by 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business, which contend certain provisions in the law are unconstitutional (Sahadi, 3/12).

The Washington Post: The Fact Checker: Is The Health Law Already Running A Deficit
A reader asked us to fact-check these claims by Sen. Johnson, a trained accountant who won election in part on clever ads that played up his experience in the real world of budget numbers. ... Secretary Sebelius certainly appears to be a bit clueless as Johnson tosses a bunch of numbers at her, clearly trying to show that the Obama health care law is now projected to show a deficit. But he gets his own facts and figures mixed up, as we will demonstrate (Kessler, 3/13).

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