KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Outlets Analyze Health Spending, Sequestration Details

The Associated Press offers some of the specifics of which programs will feel the pinch of sequestration. CQ HealthBeat takes a look at the possible causes of the "deceleration in health spending." 

The Associated Press: The Nuts And Bolts Of The Sequester
Q: What programs would be spared? A: Social Security, Medicaid, supplemental security income, refundable tax credits, the children's health insurance program, the food stamp program and veterans' benefits. The White House said last week that President Barack Obama would exempt military personnel from the cuts. Q: What about Medicare? A: The government-run health care program for seniors would face a 2 percent cut in Medicare payments to providers and insurance plans. That works out to a reduction of $11 billion next year (Cassata, 8/8).

CQ HealthBeat: Deceleration In Health Spending: Is It Only The Weak Economy?
Government actuaries say the sharp downturn in health spending growth over the past few years stems from a weakened demand for services as Americans cut back on spending to cope with a weakened economy. But that may not be the whole story, some analysts say. They suggest fundamental changes in health care delivery also may be driving the slowdown. Others, however, dismiss such talk as wishful thinking. Prominent among those who see something broader at work is Peter R. Orszag, former head of the White House Office of Management and Budget in the Obama administration and former director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). ... Orszag said a big part of slower spending growth "is a weak economy but it's not all the economy. There are structural changes that are happening out there in the field that are helping to mitigate cost growth" (Reichard, 8/7).

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