KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

In Budget Battle, Both Sides Dig In, But They Open Door To A Short-Term Deal To Allow For Negotiations

As the standoff continues between Capitol Hill Republicans and President Barack Obama over the government shutdown, the debt ceiling and GOP efforts to defund or delay the health law, Politico poses the question: what would be on the table if leaders did start talking. 

Politico: Obamacare Negotiations: What Would They Discuss?
Even if President Barack Obama and Republican and Democratic leaders suddenly started talking about Obamacare, there would be a problem: They just don't have that much to talk about. Obama says he's willing to talk about his health care law, after the crisis is over. "If you disagree with certain aspects of it, tell us what you disagree with, and let’s work on it," Obama said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. But the kinds of piecemeal changes that wouldn't cripple Obamacare — like repealing the medical device tax — wouldn’t satisfy tea party Republicans (Nather, 10/9).

The New York Times: Lift 'Threats,' Obama Insists, Spurning Talks
But he raised the possibility of reopening the government and raising the debt limit in the short term to allow negotiations, a development Republicans saw as positive. "If they can't do it for a long time, do it for the period of time in which these negotiations are taking place," he said. … Eight days since House Republicans refused to finance the government because Mr. Obama would not defund or delay the new health care law, and nine days before the Treasury Department says it will reach the legal limit to borrow money for existing bills and obligations, the two parties showed no movement toward an accord. Both sides dug in deeper, even as polls showed that Americans are fed up with Republicans, Democrats and the president — but more so with Republicans. The Senate held a rare all-hands-on-deck debate, but aired familiar partisan arguments (Calmes and Parker, 10/8).

The Associated Press: Obama Claims GOP Extortion, Boehner Vows No Surrender Amid Hints Of Short-Term Budget Truce
President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner are increasing the pressure on each other to bend in their deadlock over the federal debt limit and the partial government shutdown. Even as they do, there are hints they might consider a brief truce. With the shutdown in its ninth day Wednesday and a potential economy-shaking federal default edging ever closer, neither side was showing signs of capitulating. Republicans were demanding talks on deficit reduction and Obama’s 2010 health care law as the price for boosting the government’s borrowing authority and returning civil servants to work, while the president wanted Congress to first end the shutdown and extend the debt limit (Fram, 10/9).

Politico: Conservatives Want To Keep The Focus On Obamacare
The most conservative House Republicans are starting to worry that the growing focus on the debt ceiling could overshadow their top priority: gutting Obamacare. The health care law has always been at the center of the fight over government funding. But the debt ceiling fight, which is already rattling financial markets, could touch on a broader range of policies, including tax and entitlement reform, the Keystone XL pipeline and broader efforts to slash the deficit (Gibson, 10/8).

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