KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

In Congress, A Budget Battle Is Brewing

House GOP lawmakers are pushing cuts in the 2013 budget plan that go much deeper than the outline agreed upon last summer as part of a Republican-Democratic deal to raise the debt ceiling.

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: Fight Breaks Out Over 2013 Budget Cuts
A battle has erupted over House Republicans' plans to offer a budget next week that will likely cut 2013 spending below the level the two parties agreed on last August. … After bitter fighting over whether and how to raise the nation's debt ceiling last summer, the two parties agreed on a deal that, among other things, set a level of $1.047 trillion in discretionary spending for 2013. That excludes spending on Medicare, Social Security and other formula-based programs. Now House conservatives are pushing for a budget that spends less next year, and GOP leaders appear ready to agree—in part because otherwise they would risk conservative defections and might be unable to pass their own budget (Bendavid, 3/14).

Reuters: Deal Or No Deal? Republicans Say Budget Law Allows Cuts
Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives pushed back on Wednesday against suggestions that their drive for deeper spending cuts would break a budget deal they made last summer with Democrats and President Barack Obama. House Republicans are expected to unveil a budget plan next week that contains at least a $19 billion cut in discretionary spending below the caps enshrined in the Budget Control Act, passed in August to end an impasse over raising the debt limit (Lawder, 3/14).

Meanwhile, when the GOP House budget is unveiled, Medicaid caps will likely be absent.

Politico Pro: Medicaid Caps Unlikely To Be In GOP Budget
When House Republicans unveil their budget next week, it's not expected to include a Louisiana Republican's proposal designed to cap Medicaid spending on certain types of enrollees. Congressional sources Wednesday confirmed to POLITICO that the House budget would pass over Rep. Bill Cassidy's proposed Medicaid per capita caps. House aides have been tight-lipped about what Medicaid proposals would be included, but many expect the GOP budget will rely on a block grant as it did last year (DoBias, 3/14).

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