KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Boehner’s Debt-Ceiling Plan Faces Delay In The House

As Republican leaders struggle to gather enough votes to push the measure through, news outlets are analyzing a number of related issues -- including how both the House GOP and Senate Democrats' plans avoid tough decisions on entitlement program spending, and how future discussions surrounding Medicare may be significantly altered.

The Washington Post: Debt-Limit Vote Is Canceled In House As Boehner, GOP Leaders Struggle To Gain Votes
House Speaker John A. Boehner abruptly canceled a vote on his plan to lift the federal debt limit late Thursday after failing to persuade recalcitrant conservatives to back the measure and help him avert an economy-rattling default. … But with GOP leaders unable to offer assurances that the needed support would materialize, Senate Democrats laid plans to proceed with their own debt-ceiling plan in hopes of pushing a measure through Congress by Tuesday, when the U.S. Treasury says it could begin running short of cash to pay the nation's bills (Montgomery and Kane, 7/28).

The New York Times: Rival Plans Avoid Tough Decisions
The two main deficit-reduction plans in the House and the Senate, which would tie cuts in federal spending to an increase in the debt limit, both defer tough decisions and rely heavily on procedural steps to impose fiscal discipline. … Savings in entitlement programs and other "mandatory spending" total $20 billion over 10 years under the House bill and about twice that amount under Mr. Reid's plan. … Both plans would trim mandatory spending by eliminating some overpayments and fraudulent payments in Social Security disability programs, Medicare and Medicaid. The Boehner and Reid plans would both establish a bipartisan committee of House and Senate members to recommend additional deficit reduction measures, which could include changes in entitlement programs and tax law (Pear, 7/28).

Los Angeles Times: U.S. May Be Able To Pay Bills Beyond Debt-Ceiling Deadline
Obama administration officials have been adamant for weeks that Tuesday is the date the Treasury Department no longer will be able to pay the nation's bills if the debt ceiling isn't raised. But the government might be able to buy some more time. … Payments for interest on U.S. debt, national defense and safety net programs such as Social Security and Medicare account for about 85% of federal expenditures. Failure to pay bills in any of those areas would have an immediate negative effect throughout the country (Puzzanghera, 7/29).

Politico: Medicare At 67: The Next Big Change?
President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner failed to strike a "grand bargain" on the nation's deficit, but they may have pulled off another trick: revolutionizing the debate over Medicare (Haberkorn, 7/28).

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