KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Medicare, Medicaid Continue To Play Central Role In Budget Debate

As the standoff over raising the nation's debt ceiling continues, congressional efforts to cut entitlement programs appear increasingly likely to be pushed off until after the next election. In the background, though, both parties are focusing on Medicare and Medicaid as key to their future prospects. Democrats, who have cast themselves as Medicare's protectors, see control of the House of Representatives in play as a result of GOP proposals to revamp the program. However, some news outlets report that allies for the Medicaid program are far more sparse.

Los Angeles Times: Chances Fading For A Sweeping Deal On Spending Cuts
That means the standoff over raising the nation's nearly $14.3-trillion debt limit may conclude this summer with a more limited round of spending cuts and promises of future reform, pushing off the tough choices about taxes and Medicare until after next year's election (Mascaro and Levey, 6/6).

The Hill: The Medicare Question
The House and Senate trade places next week as senators return to the Capitol to continue to hash out a deal on the debt ceiling. Top of mind: What to do about Medicare and Medicaid. With the clock ticking on an unprecedented government default, Senate Democrats used their recess week to affirm their strong opposition to reforming the health care entitlements as part of debt-ceiling negotiations (Pecquet, 6/6).

Modern Healthcare: Waxman, Pallone Release Analysis Examining Impact Of GOP Plan For Medicare
Two House Democrats on Friday released a state-by-state analysis from their staff showing how the Republican-proposed plans to change Medicare and Medicaid would affect constituents in each U.S. congressional district (Zigmond, 6/3).

Politico: Dems See Chance For 2012 Payback
Now, thanks to the outcome of a May special election, resistance to the Republican-led plan to overhaul Medicare and the growing sense that new congressional maps aren't going to produce a GOP windfall, an idea only dead-ender Democrats clung to is starting to gain currency: The House might be in play next year after all (Isenstadt, 6/6).

McClatchy: Ryan Medicare Plan Puts GOP Candidates On The Spot
The question sounded simple enough: Would you vote for or against a Republican plan to overhaul Medicare? But Mike Haridopolos - president of the Florida state senate and a U.S. Senate hopeful calling in to a St. Augustine radio station - wouldn't answer, calling the question "hypothetical." … But Haridopolos' refusal to be pinned down in the radio interview was a stark reminder of the "third rail" potency that Medicare wields in Florida - the state with the highest proportion of people over 65 in the country. Some 3.2 million Floridians depend on the federal health insurance program, second only to California's 4.4 million. The issue's sensitivity in Florida sends a signal across the nation (Clark, 6/5).

The Hill: Pelosi Will 'Never Support' A Deal That 'Reduced Benefits For Medicare'
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Sunday that deficit reduction talks have been "civil and constructive," but she said she would not consider Medicare cuts to reduce spending. "I could never support any arrangement that reduced benefits for Medicare - absolutely not," Pelosi said on CBS' "Face the Nation" (Klatell, 6/5).

Roll Call: Dem Polling Suggests Bass Is Vulnerable On Medicare
A day after launching an attack ad against New Hampshire Rep. Charles Bass, two liberal groups have released new polling that suggests the Republican is deeply unpopular just seven months after his election. If the numbers are correct, the Congressman's vote in favor of the Medicare overhaul in the House GOP budget could become a political liability next fall (Peoples, 6/3).

Politico: Democrats Stay Quiet On Medicaid Cutbacks
Since Rep. Paul Ryan introduced his budget blueprint in April, Democrats have held countless news conferences and issued even more press releases condemning the plan - as they say - to eliminate, end or kill Medicare as we know it (Millman, 6/5).

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