On Capitol Hill, Lawmakers Weigh Possible Plans To Raise The Debt Ceiling
Some GOP House members are pushing for a bill that would have "strings attached" -- some of which include finding savings in Medicare and Medicaid. Many Republicans also are blaming the Democrats and the health law for the failure of the Obamacare co-ops. Meanwhile, 10 House Democrats are urging that Medicare cover the cost of end-of-life discussions.
The New York Times:
Lawmakers Wrangle Over Plans To Avert, Manage Or Embrace Default
With the potential for an unprecedented federal default two weeks away, House Republicans on Wednesday plan to pass legislation not to avert disaster, but rather to manage it, channeling daily tax collections to the nation’s creditors and Social Security recipients if the government’s borrowing limit is not lifted. The Obama administration and nonpartisan authorities say the plan is unworkable... A separate coalition of conservatives that includes most House Republicans, the Republican Study Committee, on Tuesday outlined conditions it would demand that Mr. Obama meet. These include $3.8 trillion in savings, mainly from entitlements like Medicare and Medicaid, and a balanced-budget constitutional amendment, which could not win congressional approval without the leverage of a debt crisis. (Calmes and Herszenhorn, 10/20)
House GOP Weighing Debt Limit Bill With Strings Attached
With the debt ceiling deadline 14 days away, House Republican leaders will use a Tuesday night party meeting to discuss a Republican Study Committee proposal to lift the debt ceiling with a host of attached policy provisions, according to multiple senior GOP sources familiar with internal planning. (Sherman, 10/20)
The Fiscal Times:
GOP Faults Obama And The ACA For Failure Of Healthcare Co-Ops
The financial crisis sweeping through a network of 23 non-profit insurance plans created under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is jeopardizing the coverage of hundreds of thousands of Americans and putting at risk billions of dollars in federal loans. But as HHS officials struggle to find their way out of the latest morass in President Obama’s signature health care plan, Republican leaders are doing little to help. After years of failed efforts to derail Obamacare in the courts and on Capitol Hill, Republicans say the president is getting his comeuppance for ignoring their past warnings about the program. (Pianin, 10/21)
Dems Urge Medicare To Pay For End-Of-Life Talks
Ten House Democrats are urging the Obama administration to allow Medicare to pay for end-of-life discussions with doctors. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed in July to allow Medicare to start reimbursing doctors when they have discussions with patients about their end-of-life options, such as whether they want to be kept on life support. (Sullivan, 10/20)
In other news -
Would Washington's FDA Fix Cure The Patients Or The Drug Industry?
This might seem to be a rough political patch for the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. The exponential price increases of several drugs have brought scrutiny to the overall rise in drug costs and have prompted several 2016 candidates, most notably Hillary Clinton, to vow action to rein in the industry. Meanwhile, thousands of complaints are pouring into the Food and Drug Administration about a contraceptive implant made by Bayer. In Congress, however, things are looking better for the manufacturers. Legislation is advancing that would speed up the FDA’s approval process for medications and medical devices, offering a rare example of how major initiatives can get traction even in today’s gridlocked Washington. (MacGillis, 10/20)