KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

President, Party Leaders Offer ‘Super Committee’ Conflicting Advice

The GOP leaders say new taxes should be unacceptable. The president says any cuts to Medicare without also increasing revenue would trigger a veto. And the House Majority Leader advises the panel to "think small."

Politico Pro: Panel May Be Stuck Over Sliver Of Spending
Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and other Republican leaders have vowed to reject a penny of tax increases. President Barack Obama says Medicare benefits are untouchable if Republicans won't raise taxes on the rich. Defense hawks — including Democrats like Defense Secretary Leon Panetta — are concerned about Pentagon spending levels. What could be left on the table for actual cuts is nondefense discretionary programs — only about 18 percent of federal spending — that already were raided by the government shutdown debate of the spring and the debt-limit deal in August. It sets up an almost impossible task — wring the bulk of $1.4 trillion in savings out of small slivers of the federal budget — while avoiding once again the hard decisions that address how the United States got into this debt crisis in the first place (Sherman, 9/21).

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: Cantor Tells Deficit Panel To Think Small
A panel of lawmakers tasked with finding at least $1.2 trillion in spending cuts should avoid discussion of raising taxes or making substantial changes to large entitlement programs and focus just on areas where a deficit-reduction agreement is more likely, a top House Republican said Tuesday. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) told reporters that the group should use the efforts of an earlier round of deficit talks that he participated in and that were led by Vice President Joe Biden as a framework for their discussions. … The No. 2 ranking House GOP leader said that Republicans wouldn't agree to support tax increases, while Democrats continue to insist that there should no changes to benefits paid out through large entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security. Instead, he said the committee should focus on areas that were less controversial (Boles, 9/20).

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