KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Political Divide Deepens On Deficit Reduction And Tax Issues

Reuters reports that even last week's poor jobs report did not spur Congress toward a compromise. As it stands, Republicans are pushing for major cuts to entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid while Democrats want to preserve these programs and ask people with higher incomes to bear more of the tax burden. The partisan divide, meanwhile, is also evident regarding women's issues and health policy.

Reuters: Poor Jobs Data Fails To Spur Congress Into Compromise
Democrats demanded that new tax revenues be part of any deficit reduction and tax reform deal, while Republicans demand major cuts in so-called entitlements such as the Medicare and Medicaid health care programs for the elderly and the poor. In fact, these positions form the basis of key campaign themes for each side -- for Republicans, to slash Washington spending and lower all tax rates, and for Democrats, to preserve Medicare benefits while asking the wealthy to shoulder a greater share of the tax burden (Lawder, 6/4).

Los Angeles Times: Congress Shifting Attention To Women's Issues, Health Care
Congress returns its attention this week to women's issues, with the Senate voting on legislation to ensure paycheck equity as GOP front-runner Mitt Romney tapped a Republican congresswoman to be his campaign liaison in the House. … The House this week is expected to take another turn at trying to dismantle Obama's health care law with legislation that would repeal a tax on medical device manufacturers. Democrats have largely supported the tax, but Republicans argue that it is stifling job creation (Mascaro, 6/4).

Also on Capitol Hill --

Bloomberg: Cancer Doctors Push Congress To Help End Drug Shortages
U.S. regulators and the country's top cancer doctors urged Congress to help end the shortages of more than a hundred drugs, including those for deadly tumors. The House and Senate are working to merge bills passed last week that would require drugmakers to notify the Food and Drug Administration when they expect a disruption to production of medicines. The number of shortages have tripled since 2006 and include cisplatin for ovarian cancer and paclitaxel, a therapy given to women with breast cancer (Pettypiece and Langreth, 6/4).

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