Viewpoints: Brownback’s ‘Snub’; The ‘Risks’ Of Medicaid Cuts; Congressional Alums On Debt Talks
Kansas City Star: Brownback's Snub Of Federal Grant Hurts Kansas
The governor's inability to stand up to pressure from his own party will slow progress. The rejected grant was also helping to fund information technology intended to make the state's Medicaid eligibility process more efficient and cost effective. Now that project also may be jeopardized (8/11).
The New York Times: A Scalpel, Not An Ax, For Medicaid
Many states are struggling to balance their budgets by curbing spending on Medicaid, a joint state-federal program that provides health insurance for the poor and disabled. They have little choice because Medicaid is one of their biggest, fastest-growing expenses. The risk is that injudicious cuts could harm their most vulnerable citizens (8/11).
Harrisburg Patriot-News: Keep Medicaid Funding Intact
Current proposals to cut federal Medicaid and Medicare all have one thing in common: They mean shifting more costs onto states at a time when most, including Pennsylvania, just can't afford it. We will most likely make up for that by cutting the money that goes to doctors, hospitals, nursing homes and direct care agencies. That will undoubtedly lead to significant job loss and could cost thousands of people their health care (Antoinette Kraus, 8/11).
Politico: Politics Aside, Debt Solution Clear
Only by addressing long-term structural problems will we make any impact on future budget projections. Fortunately, there is no great mystery surrounding what needs to be done. We are also not starting from scratch. Simpson-Bowles, in particular, is a solid framework to begin with, because it has bipartisan support and was crafted by people who have a deep understanding of government and the private sector (Jane Harman and Vin Webber, 8/12).
Politico: Trouble Ahead: Debt Deal Is Like 3-D Chess
The House and Senate members of the new bipartisan deficit reduction super committee have now been named and they may soon start hearing from some unexpected voices. Let's call them the nine-per centers. If the committee should deadlock, or if Congress rejects its recommendations, a wide range of federal beneficiaries would confront a 9 percent across-the-board, line-by-line cut on their appropriations come Jan. 1, 2013. So there is likely to be enormous pressure on the bipartisan committee to reach agreement to ensure that the axe does not fall so heavily on discretionary spending. Liberal Democrats are also likely to pressure the super committee to minimize cuts on entitlement programs, like Medicare and Social Security; while Republicans may argue against tax increases of any kind. These forces could lead to deadlock (Martin Frost, 8/11).
The Washington Post: The Mark Of A Tired Nation
Yet the ultimate cause of the economic malaise is not a political failure but a political choice. Since the New Deal - and especially since the Great Society - America has chosen an accelerating transfer of wealth from young to old. Some of this was necessary and desirable. Many seniors face a period of economic struggle toward the end of life, which entitlements have effectively, compassionately eased. But longer lives have extended this period of dependence, while health-care inflation has dramatically increased the cost of the Medicare entitlement (Gerson, 8/11).
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Paying For Birth Control
Striking a blow for women's health, the federal government says it will soon require insurance plans to cover birth control without co pays. The policy change takes effect in 2013. Although some conservatives have tried to make this a moral issue, it's really a women's health issue. Making birth control more affordable and available fills a basic health care need. With about half of pregnancies in the U.S. unintended at conception, giving women more choices can affect the health of both women and their babies. Unintended pregnancies have a greater risk of infant mortality and low birth weight babies. The new federal rules are a positive step for women's health (8/11).