KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

President Says He’ll Negotiate Budget Only After Gov’t Reopens Without Changes To Health Law

President Barack Obama said Wednesday that he will only compromise on the federal budget -- including addressing long-term Medicare and Medicaid costs -- after Republicans agree to reopen the federal government without changing the health law. Republicans may shift their focus to these budget battles and seek savings in entitlement programs and tax reform.

The Wall Street Journal: No Movement In Shutdown Standoff
House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) said after the meeting that Republicans continue to want changes to the new federal health law, the Affordable Care Act. Democrats have said they won't agree to changes to the law as a condition of reopening the government. … Mr. Obama has said he is willing to compromise on a wide-ranging budget deal -- but only after Republicans take two steps: reopening the government without changing the health law, and raising the nation's borrowing limit. After the White House meeting, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) repeated that Democrats stood firm against changing the health law (Hook, Lee and Peterson, 10/2).

The New York Times: Obama Says He Won’t Negotiate Until Government Reopens
The meeting was the first time that the president linked the two actions that he and a divided Congress are fighting over this month: a budget for the fiscal year that began on Tuesday, and an increase in the debt ceiling by Oct. 17 ... Only when those actions are taken, Mr. Obama said, would he agree to revive bipartisan talks toward a long-term budget deal addressing the growing costs of Medicare and Medicaid and the inadequacy of federal tax revenues. … Yet the refusal of the Republican-led House earlier this week to approve government funding until Mr. Obama agrees to delay his signature health-care law … raised fears from Washington to Wall Street that Republicans likewise would carry out their threat to withhold approval for an increase in the debt ceiling (Calmes and Weisman, 10/2).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Government Shutdown In 3rd Day After White House Meeting Leaves Obama, Hill Leaders At Odds
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, complained to reporters that Obama had said anew that "he will not negotiate." Boehner made clear that curbing the health care overhaul that Obama pushed into law three years ago remains part of the price for returning 800,000 furloughed federal workers to their jobs and resuscitating programs ranging from feeding pregnant women to staffing Internal Revenue Service call centers (10/3).

Los Angeles Times: House Republicans Turn Toward Seeking A Deal On The Debt Ceiling
Knowing that a delay of Obamacare remains unlikely to be accepted by the president, Republicans are expected to revisit the components of past budget battles: cuts to Medicare, Social Security and other entitlement programs, as well as reforming the tax code, a long-standing interest (Memoli and Mascaro, 10/2).

The Washington Post: Focus Shifts To Looming Debt-Ceiling Deadline As Shutdown Talks At White House Go Nowhere
On Capitol Hill, senior Republicans began to suggest that a broad agreement to overhaul entitlements and the tax code could be used as a resolution to both the shutdown and debt limit clash. But Democrats view that approach as hostage taking, and say Congress must reopen the government and authorize additional borrowing before serious negotiations can occur (Goldfarb, 10/2).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Analysis: In Quest To Scuttle Obama's Health Care Overhaul, GOP Gets Unintended Result
Republicans insisted they wanted to shut down the nation's 3-year-old health care overhaul, not the government. They got the opposite, and now struggle to convince the public that responsibility for partial closure of the federal establishment lies with President Barack Obama and the Democrats. There's ample evidence otherwise, beginning with Speaker John Boehner's refusal to permit the House to vote on Senate-passed legislation devoted solely to reopening the government (10/3).

Most Americans are against defaulting on the nation's debt to refight the Obamacare fight, a new poll says --

Politico: Poll: Most Against Default Over Obamacare
As the likelihood grows that the fight over the government shutdown will merge with a fight to raise the debt ceiling, a new poll shows Americans are against defaulting on the nation's debt over Obamacare. Asked what is more important for Congress to do, 51 percent said it was more important for Congress to raise the debt ceiling, compared with 43 percent that said it was more important to delay Obamacare, in a CNN/ORC International poll out Wednesday (Kopan, 10/2).

And the shutdown has hit medical research as well --

NPR: From Therapy Dogs To New Patients, Federal Shutdown Hits NIH
The National Institutes of Health is the biggest source of funding for medical research in the world. An the partial federal government shutdown has put it in a precarious position. Universities and hospitals across the country are grappling with what the NIH shutdown will mean for them. The NIH also has its own hospital at its main campus in Maryland called the NIH Clinical Center and is dedicated solely to medical research. Patients often go there to receive experimental treatments. The shutdown has affected the NIH hospital in ways both large and small (Greenfieldboyce, 10/3).

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