KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

‘Gang Of Six’ Budget Talks Hit Wall As Sen. Coburn Withdraws

Among the key points of contention were Coburn's proposed cuts to Medicare.

The New York Times: Senate Group On Debt Loses A Key Republican
The already weak prospects for a bipartisan debt-reduction deal this year dimmed further on Tuesday when a Republican member of the Senate's "Gang of Six," Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, withdrew after months of private negotiations amid differences over changes to Medicare (Calmes, 5/17).

Los Angeles Times: GOP Senator Drops Out Of Deficit Negotiations
A top Republican senator dropped out of the "Gang of Six" deficit reduction talks Tuesday, a blow to the nearly five-month effort to broker a bipartisan deal that now shifts attention to other fronts. Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma said talks had hit an impasse. The group had met for several hours late Monday, but Coburn ran into resistance when he proposed making cuts to Medicare that were considered unacceptable, said sources close to the talks (Mascaro, 5/18).

The Wall Street Journal: Budget Talks By 'Gang' Falter
The bipartisan talks, which had been underway about six months, hit an impasse about two weeks ago, participants said. Mr. Coburn would not say what prompted him to leave, but a person familiar with the talks said the immediate issue was Medicare cuts. The group, unofficially dubbed the "Gang of Six," had a heated meeting Monday night during which Mr. Coburn proposed additional Medicare cuts, the person said (Bendavid and Yadron, 5/18).

The Washington Post: 'Gang Of Six' On Verge Of Collapse As Republican Sen. Coburn Withdraws
By Tuesday evening, however, the "Gang of Six" was on the verge of collapse. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) withdrew from the bipartisan working group, saying the senators simply could not overcome the polarizing political pressure that each faces. The group's two other Republicans said it would be hard to continue without Coburn (Rucker and Montgomery, 5/17).

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