KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Sequester: Who’s To Blame? Who Will Feel The Pain?

News outlets analyze the political pressure and partisan in-fighting that is taking shape as the sequester countdown continues. Meanwhile, McClatchy and The New York Times attempt to answer questions about the impact of the scheduled cuts.

The Wall Street Journal: The GOP Splits Over Pressure To Slash Defense Budget
The president, meanwhile, has the easier task of traveling the country and claiming congressional Republicans are the sole impediment to his call for offsetting the cuts by closing tax loopholes. And Democratic leaders in Congress face no contingent of members agitating for the budget cuts to go through, as GOP leaders do. Most Republicans in the House would rather see the cuts kick in than agree to additional tax revenue, which Mr. Obama has said must be included in any plan to replace the budget cuts. Party leaders have counseled their rank-and-file to blame the president for coming up with the idea of the sequestration, while they highlight House-passed alternatives to find savings in Medicare and other programs (O'Connor, 2/21).

McClatchy: Not Everyone Will Feel Impact Of Federal Budget Cuts
Don't be too frightened by the doomsday talk about the automatic spending cuts that look more and more likely to kick in next week. There would be pain, to be sure, with some federal workers taking unpaid furloughs, some programs cut and as many as 700,000 jobs nationwide left uncreated. But programs that touch millions who rely on government checks most, including Social Security recipients and the poor, will not be affected. … Big chunks of the budget are exempt, notably Social Security, Medicaid, veterans benefits, the Children's Health Insurance Program, Pell grants for students, and a host of programs that help the poor. Medicare spending is not subject to the entire reduction (Lightman, 2/21).

The New York Times: Answers To Questions On Capital's Top Topic
Unless Congress intervenes, the law requires the Obama administration to impose $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts to military and domestic programs on March 1. Those cuts would be the start of $1 trillion in cuts over the next decade. … Here is a primer on what the sequester is and how we got here (Weisman, 2/21).

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