KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

House Vote Likely Today On GOP Budget Plan

House Republicans want to stave off $55 billion in automatic cuts to the Pentagon budget by paring back key provisions of the health law and cutting Medicaid and other safety net programs, restarting an emotional debate about the nation's spending priorities.

NPR: House To Vote On GOP Bill Framed As Guns Vs. Butter
Republicans who control the House want to block some $55 billion worth of automatic cuts to the Pentagon budget next year. Instead, they want to cut funding for social programs such as food stamps, Medicaid and Meals on Wheels. The Obama administration has threatened to veto the legislation. But the president is willing to leave the Pentagon cuts in place for now, in hopes of bringing Republicans back to the bargaining table (Horsley, 5/10).

The Associated Press: GOP Plan Cuts To Social Programs To Protect Pentagon
Moving to protect the Pentagon, Republicans controlling the House are pressing cuts to food stamps, health care and pensions for federal workers as an alternative to an automatic 10 percent cut to the military come January. The automatic spending cuts, totaling $98 billion next year in a new estimate, are punishment for the failure of last year's deficit-reduction "supercommittee" to strike a deal (Taylor, 5/10).

The Washington Post: House To Vote On GOP Plan That Would Forestall Pentagon Cuts
The House is expected to vote Thursday on a Republican plan that would spare the Pentagon from the deep across-the-board spending cuts envisioned as part of last summer's debt-ceiling agreement, reviving what has been an emotional debate in Washington about the best ways to reduce the federal budget deficit. … To forestall the defense hit, the GOP proposal would cut funding for food stamps, eliminate key pieces of the federal health-care law and slash funding designed to help the government better monitor the financial sector (Helderman, 5/9).

The Fiscal Times: Student Loan Bill Caught In A Web Of Politics
House Republicans on April 27 passed a version that would cut into preventive care funds for women and children in the Obama health care reform program to offset the projected $7 billion of income the Treasury would forego if the interest rate on Stafford student loans remained the same for another year ... Senate Democrats are proposing to offset the cost of holding the interest rate steady by closing a tax loophole used by some wealthy individuals to avoid Medicare payroll taxes (Pianin, 5/9).

The Fiscal Times: Surveys Say Cut Defense, Not Domestic Programs
The "no new taxes" part of the Republican Party platform, when isolated from other issues, remains popular with voters. But the latest opinion surveys suggest the broad public is ready for a shift in spending priorities after a decade of war and fast-rising military spending, which more than doubled in the past decade (Goozner, 5/10).

Meanwhile, on the Senate side, more fighting words -

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Top Senate Democrat Reid Stands Behind Automatic Defense Cuts to Pressure GOP On Budget
President Barack Obama's top Democratic ally in the Senate said Wednesday that he won't block much-feared automatic spending cuts to the Pentagon and Medicare providers from taking effect unless Republicans show more flexibility on cutting the budget deficit (5/9).

Politico: Harry Reid: No Rollback Of Automatic Budget Cuts
In his strongest words yet, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid warned Wednesday that he is not prepared to stop automatic spending cuts in January unless Republicans accept a more "balanced" approach to deficit reduction including revenues (Rogers, 5/9).

Kaiser Health News: Health On The Hill: Federal Budget: Health Care Politics Trumps Policy (Video)
Kaiser Health News staff writer Mary Agnes Carey and Jackie Judd discuss the congressional wrangling over the federal budget and what's ahead for the automatic cuts scheduled for January (5/9).

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