KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Budget Battles: GOP’s Proposed Health Program Cuts; Obama Budget To Fix Medicare Payments To Docs

House Republican leaders pushed out a new round of proposed spending cuts Friday night as they sought to meet demands by conservatives in the party to trim $100 billion from the current spending levels. Health programs were among the targets. Meanwhile, details emerged about the budget President Obama plans to release Monday.

Politico: House GOP Targets Health Care Funding
The House Republican spending bill to fund the government for the rest of the year would bar funding for the director of the White House Office of Health Reform ... It also ratchets back funding for preventive services under the new Prevention and Public Health Fund, community health centers, and National Health Service Corps to 2008 levels ... And it includes a series of new cuts to health care programs, including $850 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and $174 million in the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant. It also cancels funding for the research, demonstration and evaluation program at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Nather, 2/11).

The Hill: Tea Party Wins: $100 Billion In Cuts In House Republicans' Spending Bill
The Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) section of the CR cuts $17.5 billion, or nearly 11 percent from last year's level, compared to a 4 percent cut in the original CR. ... The CR contains many controversial deep cuts; among them are $747 million from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants & Children (WIC). ... It cuts $1 billion for community health centers and $1.1 billion from Head Start. It especially whacks foreign assistance for the poor. Food for Peace looses $687 million. Global Health and Child Survival gets cut $784 million, development assistance is cut $746 million and international disaster assistance looses $415 million (Wasson, 2/11).

The Wall Street Journal: House GOP Leaders Release Plan for Deeper Cuts
The proposed cuts touch on an array of programs long cherished by Democrats, who say they're crucial to helping the disadvantaged. ... "These were hard decisions, and I know many people will not be happy with everything we've proposed in this package," said Rep. Hal Rogers (R., Ky.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. ... The Republicans' proposed cuts did not tackle Social Security or Medicare, which make up the lion's share of federal spending, but are popular and politically difficult to cut. ... Democrats pointed specifically to cuts of $88 million for the Food Safety and Inspection Service, which inspects meat and poultry, and $241 million for the Food and Drug Administration. They suggested these cuts could threaten Americans' safety (Bendavid, 2/12).

The New York Times: E.P.A. and Public Broadcasting Are on House Republicans' List for Deep Cuts
The spending bill, put forward by the Appropriations Committee for consideration on the floor next week, proposes slashing a wide portfolio of domestic programs and foreign aid. ... [It] seeks to prevent the Internal Revenue Service from enforcing the new health care law. ... "The priorities identified in this proposal for some of the largest cuts - environmental protection, health care, energy, science and law enforcement - are essential to the current and future well-being of our economy and communities across the country," said Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Democrat of Hawaii and chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee (Hulse and Herszenhorn, 2/11).

The Associated Press: Obama Wields Scalpel To Budget, Avoiding Much Pain
Obama's promise to freeze budgets of domestic agencies at 2010 levels for five years - an austere plan by itself - looks generous by comparison. ... Obama wants to use such proposals and cuts of other programs to pay for increased spending on education, infrastructure, science and research that he says is needed to boost U.S. competitiveness (2/12).

The New York Times: Obama to Propose Cuts as Opening Bid in Budget Showdown
While Mr. Obama will also reduce military spending and some health program costs, neither he nor the Republicans are tackling the unsustainable long-term growth of entitlement programs like Medicare or proposing to raise significant revenues - as most budget analysts and bipartisan debt-reduction panels, including the one Mr. Obama created last year, have said are essential (Calmes, 2/12).


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