Democrats Anxiously Await New GOP Budget Plan
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has indicated the soon-to-be-unveiled proposal will include a plan to privatize Medicare at least "in part."
Politico: Paul Ryan Budget: Democrats Await New Proposal
Democrats are licking their chops over the idea of another Republican budget that attempts to dramatically reform the Medicare program. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has indicated that his budget will address Medicare and could include the revised plan he crafted with Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon. Under their plan, seniors would get "premium support" to help them buy private insurance coverage or traditional Medicare (Haberkorn, 1/30).
The Hill: Democrats Launch Early Offensive Over GOP Medicare Plans
Democrats are itching for another fight over Medicare, apparently undeterred by the prospect of a slightly watered-down Republican plan. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said again this weekend that he won't back down from proposals to at least partially privatize the Medicare program. Democrats seized on the comments, eager for another round in a battle that could bolster their chances of recapturing a majority (Baker, 1/30).
Meanwhile, Politico Pro reports on the latest questions surrounding the Medicare physician pay fix: Should "saved war funds" -- known as Overseas Contingency Operations funds -- be used to pay for the fix, or would it just be another budget gimmick?
Politico Pro: SGR Scorecard: Who's Eyeing War Funds?
The "doc fix" question of the moment has come down to this: War funds, or no war funds? Physician groups believe they are close to getting out from under Medicare's Sustainable Growth Rate payment formula, so they're closely watching the work of the House-Senate conference committee that's negotiating a long-term payroll tax cut and SGR fix. The problem is, the use of the so-called Overseas Contingency Operations funds — the savings from withdrawing troops from Iraq and Afghanistan — has divided support among Republicans (and some Democrats), who argue the savings amount to little more than a budget gimmick. And some lawmakers aren't sure the OCO funds fall under the scope of the 20-member conference panel anyway, since they weren't used as an offset for either the House or Senate bills (DoBias, 1/31).
Los Angeles Times: Democrats In Congress Step Up Tax-The-Rich Efforts
But after a year in which a tea-party-driven Republican Party proposed steep cuts to Medicare and other mainstays of the federal government, polls show that voters have reacted in part by taking a second look at the alternative: tapping corporations and non-earned income as a way to begin balancing the nation's debt-ridden books (Mascaro, 1/30).