KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Advocates Communicate ‘Human Toll’ Of Medicaid Cuts To Debt Panel

Groups are working to highlight to the congressional 'super committee' the impact possible program cuts would have on key health programs, such as Medicaid and rural hospitals.

Reuters: Health Consumers Make Deficit Fight Personal
The message is in a 14-page electronic brochure titled "Medicaid's Impact in Texas," sent to [Rep. Jeb]Hensarling and other Texas lawmakers by the health consumer advocacy group Families USA, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association and American Lung Association. The aim is to remind Congress of the potential human toll from tens of billions of dollars in federal Medicaid spending cuts that the groups expect Hensarling and his fellow "super committee" members to consider in the coming weeks (Morgan, 10/4).

CQ HealthBeat: Aid To Rural Hospitals Is Threatened Again, But It Still Has Reliable Allies
Lawmakers, advocates and health care providers are gearing up for a fight to preserve special government assistance for rural hospitals that President Obama has targeted in his deficit reduction proposal. The White House plan estimates saving $6 billion over 10 years by trimming Medicare funding to rural facilities known as critical access hospitals. They serve patients in sparsely populated areas in all but five states: Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island. For years, lawmakers from rural states have fought to defend the special assistance programs from budget cuts. But the deficit-cutting drive under way in Congress is now threatening the payments, particularly with a new joint committee charged with suggesting at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction proposals (Harrison, 10/3).

Meanwhile, partisan battles are emerging in regard to the health law, Planned Parenthood and other health programs as the House considers spending bills.

The New York Times: Fight For Social Programs Looms Anew In The House
House Republicans are laying the groundwork for another battle with President Obama over spending and domestic policy with a bill that would cut some of his favorite health and education programs, tie the hands of the National Labor Relations Board and eliminate federal grants for Planned Parenthood clinics (Pear, 10/3).

The Associated Press: House to Wrap Up Emergency Spending Bill
Congress is poised to fund the government for six weeks to give President Barack Obama and lawmakers more time to work out some $1 trillion of unfinished agency budgets for the fiscal year already days old. On Tuesday, the House plans to vote on the emergency spending bill and send it to Obama to beat a midnight deadline for a government shutdown. ... At the same time, House Republicans are seeking to use the bills to criticize Obama policies on health care and financial services, environmental regulations and labor rules. They also are waging uphill battles for conservative social policies like eliminating federal aid for family planning and barring health care plans for federal workers from covering abortions (Taylor, 10/4).

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