KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Partisan Strife, Interest Group Concerns Emerge In Spending Debate

The New York Times explores how intra-GOP allegiances to the business community are changing. Meanwhile, AARP acknowleges that adjustments must be made, but argues against cutting back entitlements. Also in the news, the director of the National Institutes of Health expresses his wariness about the impact sequestration could have on biomedical research.

The New York Times: For 'Party Of Business,' Allegiances Are Shifting
Big business is so fearful of economic peril if Congress does not allow the government to keep borrowing — to pay creditors, contractors, program beneficiaries and many others — that it is nearly united in skepticism of, or outright opposition to, House Republicans' demand that Mr. Obama first agree to equal spending cuts in benefit programs like Medicare and Medicaid (Calmes, 1/15).

Roll Call: AARP Warns Against Cutting Entitlements To Solve Budget Crises
The influential seniors’ lobby AARP issued a warning Tuesday for members of Congress and Obama administration officials looking to narrow the deficit: Don’t do it with cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. As lawmakers and the White House consider squeezing savings from those programs, AARP CEO Barry Rand, in a lengthy speech at the National Press Club, said his organization will work to put the emphasis on people, not balance sheets (Ackley, 1/15).

Politico: AARP's Barry Rand: Mend, Don't End Entitlements
“Yes, we do need to make adjustments to Medicare and Social Security and Medicaid — and AARP members realize that — but we need to do so without compromising the health and retirement security of the American people or undermining the values that we all cherish,” [Rand] said (Glueck, 1/15).

Politico: Biomedical Science At Stake With Sequestration
From his perch at the National Institutes of Health's sprawling campus in Bethesda, Md., Director Francis Collins is eyeing the impending sequestration cuts warily. If lawmakers don't find a way to blunt the across-the-board cuts, the government's premier medical research center will lose 6.4 percent of its budget — a cut Collins calls a "profound and devastating blow" for medical research at a time of unprecedented scientific discovery (Cunningham, 1/16).

Also, CNN provides details on who benefits from entitlement programs --

CNN Money: Entitlement America: Who Benefits?
Entitlements -- including Social Security, Medicare and safety net programs such as Medicaid and food stamps -- don't just benefit the poor and unemployed. More than 90% of the benefits go toward working families, the disabled and the elderly. And more than half of all entitlement spending helps middle class Americans. In 2010, those age 65 and older collected 53% of the dollars, while the non-elderly disabled received 20%, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a left-leaning group (Luhby, 1/15).

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