KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Ryan Budget Floor Vote Foreshadows Fiscal Showdown

The House Budget Committee approved the measure in a late vote Wednesday. Meanwhile, because it "fractures" the spending agreement reached last summer between the White House and congressional Republicans, both sides may be fixing for a fight as the election gets closer. 

The Associated Press/Washington Post: House Floor Next For Contentious GOP Budget Plan That Cuts Social Safety Net, Tax Rates
It's on to the House floor for a deficit-slashing GOP budget plan. That's the next step after the House Budget Committee approved the bold but contentious blueprint by a near party-line vote late Wednesday. … The GOP plan is nonbinding but calls for repealing Obama's health care law, while transforming Medicare into a system in which the government subsidizes purchases of health insurance on the private market instead of directly paying medical bills (3/22).

The New York Times: House GOP Budget Riles Some On The Right, And Democrats See A Campaign Issue
House Republicans pressed forward on Wednesday with a politically freighted budget and tax plan, taking fire from the left and the right, as well as from the powerful senior citizens lobby, AARP, which said the plan "lacks balance" and "jeopardizes the health and economic security of older Americans." Before the House Budget Committee passed the plan on Wednesday night, its advocates were running a gantlet of opposition (Weisman, 3/22).

The Wall Street Journal: Spending Clash Looms On Election Eve
A fracturing agreement between the White House and congressional Republicans over spending levels has heightened the chance of a government shutdown just weeks before the November election. … The flashpoint came this week when House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) called for $1.028 trillion in discretionary spending for the year beginning Oct. 1—$19 billion less than the level agreed to with the White House last year and put into law. Discretionary spending requires annual approval by Congress and excludes formula-based programs like Medicare and Social Security (Paletta and Bendavid, 3/21).

The Fiscal Times: 5 Things You Don't Know About Paul Ryan's Budget
4) It Could Leave More People Uninsured: According to a preliminary Congressional Budget Office analysis of Ryan's health care proposals, a "much higher" number of people would be without health insurance under his plan because it would repeal Obama's signature health care reform, which is designed to extend insurance coverage to more than 30 million Americans (Hirsch, 3/22). 

The Fiscal Times: Ryan's Plan Could Decimate The Social Safety Net
Ryan contends that Medicaid health services for the poor and other programs are growing at an unsustainable rate and must be curtailed. Medicaid for example has been growing on average of 9 percent a year – far faster than the overall economy. ... But the Obama administration and liberal budget advocacy groups voiced alarm on Tuesday that in the name of deficit reduction, House Republicans were seeking to repeal the president's health care reform law, slash overall Medicaid spending 30 percent or more by 2022 and cut spending for food stamps, college aid and education and job training (Pianin, 3/21). 

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