Facing Pressure From All Sides, Deficit Panel Keeps Hands Off Health Law
The sweeping 2010 health law has stayed largely intact even as super committee members struggle to slash the nation's deficit. Meanwhile, the clock continues to tick down toward the deadline as even more proposals are being floated.
Politico: Super Committee's Hands-Off Approach To Obama's Health Care Law
From the provisions that aim to reconfigure how care is delivered at the bedside, to new templates for financing care, to the blueprint for helping 32 million Americans get coverage, the wide-reaching Affordable Care Act is on pace to stay largely intact as the six Democrats and six Republicans on the super committee grapple with how to slash the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion (Dobias, 11/15).
The Washington Post: Super Committee Members Face Rising Pressure From All Sides
Top congressional leaders intervened Tuesday in super committee talks about the national debt, as negotiators faced mounting pressure from both parties to back away from any deal that requires tax increases and cuts to cherished social programs. With one week remaining before a Thanksgiving deadline, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) met briefly to discuss the panel's deliberations. Aides described the 15-minute session as a "gut check" to determine whether the parties can reach an accord to slice at least $1.2 trillion from projected borrowing over the next decade (Helderman and Montgomery, 11/15).
Roll Call: Ads Target Possible Super Committee Cuts To Medicare, Medicaid
Labor unions and progressives Wednesday will hit the airwaves in Nevada, Montana and Massachusetts in the hopes of pushing Republican Senate candidates to oppose any super committee deal that includes cuts to Medicare or Medicaid. Republicans and Democrats on the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction have been struggling to come up with a way to reform entitlement programs as part of a broader deal on reducing the deficit. Although those talks have ground to a crawl just a week before a self-imposed deadline, labor and progressive activists are taking no chances (Stanton, 11/15).
KHN's earlier, related coverage: Interest Group Wish List: A Window Into The Challenge For The Super Committtee (11/16).
The New York Times: GOP Is Optimistic But Democrats Are Glum On Deficit Panel
House Republicans, back from a week of recess, met to discuss the Republican offer, which includes $300 billion in new tax revenue over 10 years and a rewriting of the tax code. The package was warmly received by many House Republicans at a meeting of their caucus on Tuesday, according to people who attended. … Democrats said they were dismayed to see Republicans rallying around the proposal without offering further concessions to address Democrats' concerns (Steinhauer and Pear, 11/15).
The Wall Street Journal: Gimmicks Could Help Rescue Deficit Talks
All told, none of these efforts make the fundamental policy changes needed for a long-term budget fix. "Suddenly everyone is talking not about deficit reduction but deficit-reduction gimmicks," said Stanley Collender, a budget expert and former congressional aide. Any perception of gimmickry could undermine the bill's credibility especially among tea-party conservatives and on Wall Street, possibly risking another hit to the U.S.'s credit rating (Hook, 11/16).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: House Speaker Boehner Calls Super Committee Deficit Plan, With Higher Taxes, A 'Fair Offer'
The movement by Boehner and others on taxes is important, but his endorsement does not mean all Republicans will follow him or that a deal is in sight. Republicans have been unified for two decades in opposition to higher taxes, while Democrats on the super committee insist on additional revenue before they will agree to cuts in benefit programs like Medicare as part of a compromise (11/16).
Los Angeles Times: GOP Leaders Seek Backing For Tax Compromise
But not all Republicans bought into the pitch, an indication of the uphill climb House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) faces in crafting a deal that his conservative conference will support. Talks between Boehner and President Obama broke down this summer over taxes. … Also unclear is whether Democrats would accept $250 billion in new revenue, an amount they initially dismissed as paltry as they have pushed for an equal ratio of new taxes to spending cuts to Medicare and other domestic programs (Mascaro, 11/16).
Politico Pro: Schwartz Eyes SGR Repeal For Debt Panel
Rep. Allyson Schwartz has readied a framework that would fully repeal the long-ridiculed way in which Medicare pays doctors and replace it with a range of different reimbursement options. The Pennsylvania Democrat's plan would repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate — which calls for deep and growing physician payment cuts — and replace it with five years of stable payments during which the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation would develop at least four new payment models by October 2015. The proposal is outlined in a document obtained by Politico (DoBias and Haberkorn, 11/16).
Boston Globe: Federal Medicaid Funding At Risk
Congressman Edward Markey and 23 other representatives and senators sent a letter to the deficit reduction supercommittee today in hopes of protecting Medicaid from potential cuts. A federal match for the 12 states that expanded their health insurance programs for the poor prior to the passage of health care reform is one of many items being considered for cutbacks as the bipartisan congressional super committee tries to come up with $1.2 trillion in savings over 10 years (Jan, 11/15).