KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Deficit Deal: Next Steps And New Developments

News outlets are reporting on how the next phase called for in the deficit plan will likely follow a rocky road, which could include broken promises on entitlements, danger for the health law and leave the health sector hoping for the lesser evil.

The Associated Press: The Next Deficit Deal: There's A Rough Road Ahead
All sides will fiercely defend core priorities, Republicans opposing tax increases and defense cuts and Democrats protecting benefits for Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid recipients. Those happen to be exactly where nonpartisan analysts say savings must occur for any serious deficit-cutting package to emerge (Fram and Cassata, 8/4).

The Wall Street Journal: Cantor Suggests Entitlement Promises Will Be Broken
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on Wednesday suggested that Republicans will continue a push to overhaul programs such as Medicare, saying in an interview that "promises have been made that frankly are not going to be kept for many" and that younger Americans will have to adjust. … His comments suggest that Republicans are committed to overhauling entitlement programs such as Medicare even after President Barack Obama signed into law a debt package under which Medicare recipients weren't hit with direct cuts. Congress left Medicare recipients untouched directly in order to win enough Democratic votes for the debt package to become law (Hughes, 8/3).

Reuters: Tea Party Groups See Medicare Overhaul Chance
With Medicare at the top of lawmakers' fall agenda, Tea Party movement leaders hope to ignite support for Republican plans to transform the popular federal health care program for the elderly. Thousands of Tea Party movement activists are expected to descend this month on town hall meetings across key battleground states as part of an intensifying campaign ahead of the 2012 presidential and congressional elections. Their priority is a plan to slash Medicare costs proposed by House of Representatives Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, which could gain momentum now that a debt-limit deal between President Barack Obama and Congress has made potential Medicare cuts a centerpiece of the deficit debate (Morgan, 8/3).

Politico: Cuts Could Endanger Health Care Law
The debt ceiling agreement could jeopardize millions of dollars, and perhaps billions, in initiatives from President Barack Obama's health care reform law if the super committee can't come up with required spending cuts. Many of the pots of money in the law - one of the Democrats' most prized pieces of legislation - could get trimmed by the debt deal's sequestration, or triggered cuts (Haberkorn, 8/3).

The Hill: 'Trigger' In Debt Deal Might Be Lesser Evil For Health Sector
The political divisions over cuts to health care programs could be even sharper during the next round of deficit-reduction talks. The debt negotiations that wrapped up this week centered on a single legislative package. But next time there will be two potential outcomes - targeted cuts crafted by a special "supercommittee" of lawmakers, or an across-the-board 2 percent cut in Medicare payments to hospitals and other health care providers (Baker, 8/3).

Kaiser Health News: FAQ: Debt Deal 'Super' Committtee's Impact On Health Spending Explained
Kaiser Health News staff writers Mary Agnes Carey and Phil Galewitz report: "The deal President Barack Obama and Congress struck this week to raise the nation's debt ceiling has prompted many questions about how a special "super committee" established by the law will affect federal health care programs" (Carey and Galewitz, 8/3).

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