KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

New GOP Budget Triggers Immediate Budget Battles, Political Reactions

News outlets report that the plan unveiled Tuesday by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., almost automatically became "the centerpiece" of the upcoming election-year discourse. The document, which was cheered by the GOP for its smaller government vision, is certain to be rejected by the Senate.

The Wall Street Journal: Ryan Plan Revives Deficit Duel
Rep. Paul Ryan's budget instantly became the centerpiece of an election-year debate over the size of government on Tuesday, thrusting back into the spotlight a topic—the deficit—that has been largely overlooked by the presidential candidates. … The Budget Committee will begin finalizing the bill Wednesday. … The Democrat-controlled Senate is all but certain to reject the Ryan plan, if it considers it at all. … Mr. Ryan also reiterated his plan for turning Medicare from a program that pays directly for health care into one that would subsidize insurance premiums for seniors, allowing them to buy either a private plan or traditional Medicare (Bendavid, 3/20).

Politico: Paul Ryan Budget Plan Triggers Wars Anew
Congress returned full throttle to the budget wars Tuesday with rival plans and accusatory rhetoric, spiced by November's elections and the bad memories of last summer's debt battle. House Republicans moved first, rolling out their plan to cut by half the deficits in President Barack Obama's February budget — but in the process also walking away from agreements made in the Budget Control Act last August (Rogers, 3/20).

Reuters: Republican Budget Draws Election Contrast With Obama
House Republicans placed a major election-year bet on Tuesday on a deficit-slashing budget proposal the party hopes will win over voters and quell any concerns about the plan's most controversial element -- a sweeping revamp of Medicare. The plan, authored by Congressman Paul Ryan, seeks to draw a sharp contrast between Republicans' vision of a smaller, less-intrusive federal government with that of President Barack Obama, who stresses the importance of social safety nets and emphasizes the positive role government plays in the economy (Lawder, 3/20).

Market Watch: Republican Budget Throws Down Election Gauntlet
House Republicans unveiled an election-year budget blueprint Tuesday that dramatically overhauls the U.S. tax code and aims for deep spending cuts, seeking to draw a sharp contrast with President Barack Obama. The budget, introduced by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, provides for just two individual tax brackets — 10% and 25% — cuts spending by about $5 trillion over 10 years relative to President Obama's budget, and shifts Medicaid to states to save money. It also balances the budget by 2040 and reprises a controversial plan to transform Medicare (Schroeder, 3/20).

Politico Pro: The Political Realities Of The New Ryan Plan
Paul Ryan likes to talk about how the conversation is already changing on Medicare — but you'd be hard pressed to find any signs that his new budget will help that happen. In his latest budget blueprint Tuesday, Ryan swapped out his old Medicare proposal for a newer one based on the plan he drew up last year with Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon. But he kept all of the other health care changes pretty much the same, including Medicaid block grants and a repeal of the health care law — two big fingers in the eyes of Democrats. And he didn't get even Wyden's endorsement (Nather, 3/20).

The Fiscal Times: Ryan Budget Spurs New Round of Political Warfare
Rather than pegging the Medicare spending growth rate to a predetermined formula, the Ryan plan would use competitive bidding among hospitals and doctors to contain costs. By contrast, President Obama's 2010 health care reform legislation created a 15-member Independent Payment Advisory Board, to contain Medicare spending growth (Pianin and Hirsch, 3/20). 

CQ HealthBeat: Gingrey Says AARP, Republicans Set For More Medicare Discussions
Meetings between congressional Republicans and the influential seniors' group AARP to discuss the future of Medicare are slated to continue, Rep. Phil Gingrey said Tuesday. And the Georgia lawmaker said he's committed to maintaining a relationship between the two. "What we are working on now is setting up a small ad hoc group to sit down," Gingrey said in an interview. At least one senator will attend, as well as a handful of House Republicans and AARP's representatives, said Gingrey, who is chairman of the GOP Doctors Caucus (Norman, 3/20).

Modern Healthcare: Provider Groups, Lawmakers Blast Ryan Medicare, Medicaid Plans
Provider groups and lawmakers wasted no time criticizing the House Republicans' fiscal 2013 budget plan that would offer a premium-support model for Medicare and shift Medicaid to a block grant program for states. The plan was released earlier by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). "Medicaid works. It provides coverage to more than 60 million Americans at lower administrative costs than private insurance and lower per-capita costs than Medicare," Dr. Bruce Siegel, president and CEO of the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, said in a statement Tuesday (Zigmond, 3/20).

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