KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Budget Talks: Partisan Divisions Become More Entrenched

Included in the negotiations are proposals that would trim more than $350 billion from the federal Medicare and Medicaid health programs. Much of that would come from Medicare, where Republicans proposed to squeeze $246 billion in savings by reductions in payments for home health care, as well as increasing co-payments for laboratory services.

The Washington Post: Partisan Divide On Debt Talks Growing Deeper; Obama Says He Won't Accept Stopgap Plan
During the meeting, Obama challenged Boehner to buck the anti-tax hard-liners in his party, who, the president suggested, are blocking the path to a landmark compromise. … Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) responded by urging Democrats to settle for a more modest reductions-only deal that would save $2.4 trillion but would not touch tax breaks for the nation's richest households. In addition to major cuts to domestic agencies, the House GOP proposal calls for slicing about $250 billion from Medicare over the next decade by asking well-off seniors to pay more for health coverage, placing new restrictions on Medigap policies and putting in place new co-payments and cost-sharing provisions for home health care, among other changes (Montgomery, 7/11).

The New York Times: Budget Talks Beginning To Take On A Testy Air
Mr. Obama, after restating his pitch for a far-reaching deal that could produce savings of $4 trillion or so over a decade, turned the floor over to the House majority leader, Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia. Mr. Cantor, Democratic officials said, presented a Republican proposal for a more modest agreement that drew heavily on earlier negotiations steered by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. Those talks had led to proposals for nearly $1.2 trillion in federal agency cuts. … More than $350 billion would also come from the federal Medicare and Medicaid health programs. Much of that would come from Medicare, where Republicans proposed to squeeze $246 billion in savings by reductions in payments for home health care, as well as increasing co-payments for laboratory services (Landler and Hulse, 7/11).

Los Angeles Times: Debt Talks Get Testy As Obama Raises Pressure
Obama used a news conference Monday morning and a private session in the afternoon to urge Republicans to reconsider their refusal to accept a large-scale deficit-reduction package that would combine revenue increases, cuts in Medicare and Medicaid, and reductions in a long list of government programs to reduce the long-term debt by about $4 trillion over 10 years (Parsons and Mascaro, 7/11).

The Wall Street Journal: President's Focus: $4 Trillion
The White House and congressional leaders made no progress Monday toward reaching a deficit-reduction deal that would clear the way for raising the federal borrowing limit in less than three weeks. President Barack Obama pressed congressional leaders Monday to forge a $4 trillion, 10-year deal. But after another contentious meeting at the White House, the odds that Democrats and Republicans can bridge their differences over taxes and social programs to reach such a sweeping plan ahead of an Aug. 2 debt-limit deadline appeared to diminish (Lee and Hook. 7/12).

McClatchy: Obama On Big Debt Deal: 'If Not Now, When?'
President Barack Obama will meet Tuesday with congressional leaders at the White House for the third straight day to try to break a partisan deadlock over efforts to raise the U.S. debt ceiling. … House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said the two sides remained at odds over taxes and spending on entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security…. The officials said Obama pressed his case that the Biden package wasn't large enough and that GOP calls for cuts to programs such as Medicare and Medicaid without any tax increases on the rich would be impossible for "even a single Democrat" to support (Clark and Lightman, 7/11).

Politico: Dems Propose Cuts, Hikes In Budget
As President Obama hosted congressional leaders at the White House for another round of debt talks, the Senate Budget Committee chairman on Monday unveiled his 2012 budget that aims to slash the deficit by $4 trillion over 10 years through an even blend of spending cuts and tax increases. Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad's blueprint leaves Social Security unscathed and calls for only modest cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. But it targets deep cuts to the Defense Department and other federal agencies, while raising taxes on the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans and closing corporate tax loopholes and shelters (Wong, 7/11).

The Fiscal Times: Obama Makes 11th-Hour Plea For A 'Big Deal'
Obama used a nationally televised press conference to make this case: There will never be a better time than now to hash out differences over the most politically sensitive issues, including reductions in spending for entitlement programs closely guarded by Democrats and tax increases that are overwhelmingly opposed by Republicans and independents. ... Defense cuts beyond those already planned as well as savings in Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal health-care programs would be on the bargaining table (Pianin and DePaul, 7/11).

Kaiser Health News (Video): President Calls For 'Meaningful Changes' To Medicare, Medicaid
In his news conference today, President Barack Obama discussed the debt ceiling, the deficit, negotiating with Republicans and paid some attention to entitlements including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Here are video excerpts and a transcript.

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