Debt Panel Operates In Secret, Eyes ‘Dual Eligibles’ As Source Of Savings
The 'super committee' is taking a look at proposals to reduce spending on this population, which qualifies for both Medicare and Medicaid and is made up of the sickest and poorest American citizens. In the background, the New York Times examines what congressional "short-term fixes" say about the legislative body.
Politico: Super Committee Operating In Secret
As 12 lawmakers tackle the historic task of slashing at least $1.2 trillion from the nation's deficit, they have spent lots of time behind closed doors, speaking almost nothing of their proceedings while leaving behind little more than a trail of sandwich wrappers and unanswered questions. It's a remarkable show of secrecy after an election year that ushered in nearly 90 new Republicans who rejected the idea that sweeping legislation would be authored outside the public view (Sherman and Dobias, 9/27).
Reuters: U.S. Debt Panel Eyes Dual Medicare/Medicaid Patients
Government health benefits for some 9 million of the sickest and poorest U.S. citizens will come under scrutiny from the congressional "super committee" seeking to cut the nation's debt. These are Americans who qualify for both the Medicare and Medicaid programs for the elderly and the poor, based on their disability, age and low income. In bureaucratic parlance they are called "dual-eligibles" and both Democrats and Republicans see their care as one major area for potential savings. The super committee panel, with six members from each party, is taking a look at proposals to reduce spending on this group, a congressional aide said (Smith, 9/28).
Politico Pro: Schwartz Gathering Support For SGR Repeal
Rep. Allyson Schwartz, a leading centrist Democrat, is trying to put together bipartisan support to ask the super committee to recommend a long-term repeal of Medicare's Sustainable Growth Rate. Schwartz of Pennsylvania is releasing a letter to her colleagues Wednesday that asks the group to repeal the outdated formula, arguing that doing so would stabilize Medicare and provide a more realistic picture of the nation's debt. "For a decade, the fundamentally flawed Medicare physician payment system has created uncertainty and instability not only in the health system but in the larger economy," Schwartz writes. "Through this deficit reduction process, Congress has a historic opportunity to implement sound fiscal policy in the Medicare program in the context of broad economic reforms" (Haberkorn, 9/28).
The New York Times: Congressional Memo: Short-Term Fixes That Take Time And Resolve Little
From this year’s series of short-term deals to keep the government’s lights on, to another set to keep the doors of the Federal Aviation Administration open, to the dozen laws that temporarily block cuts in Medicare payments to doctors until "fixed," Congress sometimes feels less like a legislative branch than a beauty shop, where everything gets prettied up, but only temporarily (Steinhauer, 9/27).