KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Slower Health Care Inflation Helps U.S. Debt Outlook, But Medicare Looms In Background

Lower interest rates have postponed the day of reckoning, but entitlements still need long-term solutions to stave off financial doomsday -- a problem that the next person in the White House will face.

The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Debt Burden: It’s Gotten a Bit Less Bad
Budget watchdogs for years have warned of a looming debt crisis in the U.S. The federal debt, already its highest as a share of the economy since 1950, is poised to rocket higher as retiring baby boomers draw on Medicare and Social Security. Here’s the surprise: Compared to seven years ago, the long-term budget outlook has gotten better, not worse, thanks to slower health-care inflation and, more important, much lower interest rates. The hands on the doomsday debt clock have been moved back. (Ip, 2/3)

The Washington Post: Even As Obama Brags About Slashing The Deficit, Analysts Predict Its Growth
The federal deficit this year will jump $105 billion from last year, but it will also increase as a portion of the economy for the first time since 2009, according to the Congressional Budget Office. ... In the budget proposal next week, President Barack Obama is likely to leave this problem for the next president. To do otherwise would mean addressing the rate of growth of entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare, which currently make up two-thirds of the federal budget and which will grow nearly 7 percent this year, according to CBO. (Mufson, 2/3)

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