KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Obama Offers Framework To Cut Federal Budget Deficit

In his plan, which the administration says would cut federal budget deficits by $4 trillion over 12 years, President Barack Obama rejected GOP calls to make fundamental changes to Medicare and Medicaid and scale back the reach of the new health law.

The Washington Post: Obama Announces Framework For Cutting Deficit By $4 Trillion Over 12 Years
In a stinging rebuke to Republican budget-cutters, Obama acknowledged that the debt must be tackled faster than he has previously proposed, but he rejected GOP calls to make fundamental changes to Medicare and Medicaid and to scale back his initiative to expand health care coverage to the uninsured (Montgomery and Goldfarb, 4/13).

The New York Times: Obama's Debt Plan Sets Stage For Long Battle Over Spending
Mr. Obama said his proposal would cut federal budget deficits by a cumulative $4 trillion over 12 years, compared with a deficit reduction of $4.4 trillion over 10 years in the Republican plan. But the president said he would use starkly different means, rejecting the fundamental changes to Medicare and Medicaid proposed by Republicans and relying in part on tax increases on affluent Americans (Landler and Shear, 4/13).

The Associated Press: Obama's Plan Would Cut Spending, Raise Taxes On The Wealthy
President Barack Obama coupled a call for $4 trillion in long-term deficit reductions with a blistering attack on Republican plans for taxes, Medicare and Medicaid on Wednesday, laying down markers for a roiling debate in Congress and the 2012 presidential campaign to come. ... [Still] an additional $480 billion would be saved from Medicare, which provides health care principally to 33 million seniors, and from Medicaid, a state-federal program that covers lower-income families and is ticketed for a huge expansion under the health care program Obama signed into law last year (4/13).

Los Angeles Times: Obama Lays Out Deficit Reduction Plan
President Obama vigorously defended government's responsibility for the nation's most vulnerable citizens and castigated Republican plans to "end Medicare as we know it" as he moved to shape the burgeoning national debate over the federal deficit with his own mix of tax increases and spending cuts (Nicholas and Levey, 4/13).

NPR: Taxes, Entitlements: Sticking Points In Deficit Debate
The budget plans put forward by President Obama and House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) both set a goal of about $4 trillion in deficit reduction, but Ryan would get his in 10 years - two years sooner than the president. The biggest differences between the two plans are their treatment of taxes, and Medicare and Medicaid (Ydstie, 4/14).

The Wall Street Journal: Obama Stokes Deficit Fight
The speech, which appeared to leave Republican leaders furious, was Mr. Obama's most substantive step into the debate over the nation's fiscal future, an issue that both parties say is a matter of national security and which is likely to dominate the 2012 elections. Mr. Obama called for Congress to cut deficits by $4 trillion over 12 years and commit to automatic, across-the-board spending cuts and tax increases if an initial target is not met by 2014. While they engaged in sharp public exchanges on taxes, Medicare and other programs, however, top Democrats and Republicans also agreed to work behind the scenes on a short-term fiscal priority: putting together a general deficit-reduction framework that would clear the way for raising the limit on how much the federal government can borrow (Lee and Paletta, 4/14).

McClatchy: Obama's Deficit Plan Begins Tug-Of-War With Republicans
Offering up his own $4 trillion roadmap to tame America's deficit and an admission that he doesn't expect Congress to embrace it as-is, President Barack Obama on Wednesday began a concerted effort to pull together a bipartisan deal this year. Obama's plan, a mix of $3 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases to shave $4 trillion from deficit spending over the next dozen years, comes on the heels of Republicans' "path to prosperity" proposal that would cut $4.4 trillion from deficit spending over 10 years, but offer a more radical downsizing of government including the Medicare and Medicaid programs (Talev, Lightman and Hall, 4/13).

CQ HealthBeat: Thanks To Medicare, Obama's Debt Trigger May Be Easy To Squeeze
How tough will it be to get deficit spending below 2.8 percent of the gross domestic product, thereby avoiding the trigger for across-the-board spending cuts President Obama proposed Wednesday? It will be a lot easier in the short term than over the long haul, according to testimony at the Senate Finance Committee before Obama made his speech. Starting in 2020, though, look out: Medicare and Medicaid spending are projected to explode. Obama's exemption of Medicare benefits and Medicaid from automatic cuts under his proposed "debt fail-safe" trigger might not stand after that point. However, the president did also propose to broadly expand the Independent Payment Advisory Board's power to promote Medicare efficiencies and to order cuts in the program before 2020 (Reichard, 4/13). 

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.