KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Budget Talks Advance; Changes To Medicare, Medicaid On The Table

Touching these safety-net programs would raise the ire of some Democrats, but the concept is being advanced by President Barack Obama as a trade-off for new tax revenues.

The New York Times: President Looks For Broader Deal On Deficit Cuts
The president's renewed efforts follow what knowledgeable officials said was an overture from Mr. Boehner, who met secretly with Mr. Obama last weekend, to consider as much as $1 trillion in unspecified new revenues as part of an overhaul of tax laws in exchange for an agreement that made substantial spending cuts, including in such social programs as Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security - programs that had been off the table (Hulse and Landler, 7/6).

The Washington Post: In Debt Talks, Obama Offers Social Security Cuts
President Obama is pressing congressional leaders to consider a far-reaching debt-reduction plan that would force Democrats to accept major changes to Social Security and Medicare in exchange for Republican support for fresh tax revenue. At a meeting with top House and Senate leaders set for Thursday morning, Obama plans to argue that a rare consensus has emerged about the size and scope of the nation's budget problems and that policymakers should seize the moment to take dramatic action (Montgomery, 7/6).

Los Angeles Times: Obama, Boehner Hold One-On-One Deficit Talks
As a deadline nears, top aides for Obama and Boehner have privately been exchanging views about budget proposals, a sign of efforts underway to work through key issues that have separated the two sides for more than two months (Mascaro and Parsons, 7/6).

The Wall Street Journal: Movement In Budget Impasse
Discussions also have touched on changes to all three major safety-net programs - Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, these people say. Participants in the debt talks had been weighing changes to Medicare and Medicaid, but tinkering with Social Security had not been part of the discussion until recently. Such a move would be anathema to many Democrats (Bendavid, Hook and Lee, 7/7).

ABC (Video): Washington Debt Negotiations: A Grand Bargain?
Obama might be willing to consider changes to Medicare and Social Security (7/7). 

In the background -

CBS: Senate Dems Insist They'll Protect Medicare In Debt Talks
Amid reports that the White House is ready to accept cuts to Medicare in its debt reduction negotiations with Republicans, Senate Democrats today reiterated their pledge to protect the government health care program. "Social Security and Medicare are great American success stories," Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said in a press conference, "and we are committed to keeping them for the future." President Obama yesterday implored both Democrats and Republicans to leave their "comfort zones" to achieve "real compromise" on the budget, adding, "I'm ready to do that. I believe there are enough people in each party that are willing to do that." He has invited Republican and Democratic congressional leaders to the White House for a meeting Thursday to work through the "real differences" that he says remain to get a deal done to raise the debt ceiling (Tricker, 7/6).

The Hill: Durbin: Conrad Budget 'Doesn't Savage' Medicaid
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) on Wednesday unveiled a budget blueprint that cuts the deficit by $4 trillion over 10 years but cuts health care entitlements much less than House Republicans' proposal. "It has a very small, 10-year effect on Medicare and on Medicaid, it does not savage it," Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told reporters after the meeting. "The cuts there - I can't remember the number - but when you compare it to the Paul Ryan budget, there's a dramatic difference" (Pecquet, 7/6).

Modern Healthcare: Hospitals Wary As Deficit Talks Loom
As congressional leaders prepare to meet with President Barack Obama on Thursday for deficit-reduction negotiations, the nation's hospitals remain anxious that a deal could include additional federal spending cuts in health care (Zigmond, 7/6). 

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