Deficit Panel Has ‘Extraordinary Power’ But Will Face ‘Bumpy’ Start
The LA Times reports on some of the challenges ahead for the "super committee" and explores the panel's chances for success. Meanwhile, one GOP member of this select group vows that there will be no cuts to entitlement benefits.
Los Angeles Times: Deficit 'Super Committee' Looks Set For A Bumpy Start
The congressional "super committee" on deficit reduction has extraordinary new power to chart the nation's budget and policy decisions for the next decade. What it doesn't have is a meeting room. Or a staff director. Or clear rules to govern the bipartisan panel that in three months is expected to recommend $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction, a massive undertaking that many are skeptical will succeed (Mascaro, 8/18).
The Seattle Times/Associated Press: INFLUENCE GAME: Some Groups May Want Debt Gridlock
Gridlock, as much as it's derided, may be the best outcome for the elderly, health care providers and poor people in this fall's fight over further deficit cuts. A new congressional supercommittee, split evenly between Democrats and Republicans, has until Thanksgiving to propose a gargantuan $1.5 trillion in budget savings over 10 years. Every federal program and tax is a potential bull's-eye for the panel. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities illustrate the unpredictable budget-cutting terrain ahead. Their trade group, the American Health Care Association, says over 60 percent of its members' revenues - $45 billion last year - came from Medicaid, which would be fully exempted from automatic cuts if the supercommittee fails to agree on a savings plan. But the trade group says its members would be hurt by another aspect of the automatic slashes - a 2 percent cut in Medicare payments to nursing homes and other health care providers (Fram, 8/18).
The Hill: Republican Super Committee Member Vows No Cuts To Entitlement Benefits
A Republican member of the powerful, deficit-slashing super committee vowed this week that the panel won't touch benefits under Social Security and Medicare. Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said it's "critical" that current enrollees in those entitlement programs "not see benefit reductions" (Lillis, 8/18).
Meanwhile, in political news related to Medicare -
New Hampshire Public Radio: Perry Speaks Of Medicare "Transition"
Texas Governor Rick Perry says the country ought to move away from the current Medicare program but he says little about what a new program should look like. ... The candidate's web site says nothing about Medicare. About a year ago, Perry told Newsweek magazine he thought states would do a better job of running the program for the elderly and Washington should give them the freedom to come up with their own innovations (Jon Greenberg, 8/18).