With Much At Stake, Lobbyists Stay Close To Super Committee
Politico reports that the high stakes that involve everything from the health industry to Native American tribes in the deficit panel's deliberations have created a veritable "swarm" of lobbyists.
Politico: Lobbyists Swarm Super Committee
It's a stunning ratio of lobbyists to lawmakers but makes sense when you consider the high stakes faced by interests ranging from the health care industry to Native American tribes. The groups fear the super committee will find $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction before Thanksgiving by cutting their funding or raising their taxes (Sherman and Palmer, 10/23).
The Associated Press: Lawmakers Open To Changes In Military Benefits
The government's promise of lifetime health care for the military's men and women is suddenly a little less sacrosanct as Congress looks to slash trillion-dollar-plus deficits. Republicans and Democrats alike are signaling a willingness — unheard of at the height of two post-Sept. 11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — to make military retirees pay more for coverage. It's a reflection of Washington's newfound embrace of fiscal austerity and the Pentagon's push to cut health care costs that have skyrocketed from $19 billion in 2001 to $53 billion (Cassata, 10/22).
Meanwhile, also on Capitol Hill, Politico Pro reports on possible complications for the Medicare physician payment fix —
Politico Pro: Could 'Glitch' Bill Complicate Doc Fix?
The House next week is expected to pass legislation to fix a "glitch" in Medicaid eligibility under the new health care law — even though doing so could set back efforts to pass a "doc fix" bill this year. Majority Leader Eric Cantor on Friday said the House would take up a bill targeting a provision of the health reform law that changes the eligibility standards for Medicaid — a change that could allow some high-earning couples to qualify for it. It would help offset the $11.2 billion cost of a second bill, also up in the House next week, that would repeal a 3 percent withholding requirement on payments made to government contractors. A Cantor aide said the bills are expected to come to the floor on Thursday. The move marks an unusual instance where both efforts have the support of Republicans, Democrats and the White House — as well as from health care interest groups who have a stake in the outcome. Even so, the use of what is essentially a health care offset to pay for the package could come back to haunt other health care priorities (DoBias, 10/21).