KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Some Praise Rep. Ryan’s Budget Plan As A Bold Approach; Others Worry About ‘Dangerous’ Cuts To Medicare, The Poor

A look at the initial editorials and opinions on the budget proposal released Tuesday by the House Budget Committee chairman.

The New York Times: The Careless House Budget
As he rolled out his 2013 budget on Tuesday, Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, correctly said that he and his fellow Republicans were offering the country a choice of two very clear futures. The one he outlined in his plan could hardly be more bleak (3/20). 

The Washington Post: Paul Ryan's Dangerous, And Intentionally Vague, Budget Plan
There is no credible path to deficit reduction without a combination of spending cuts and revenue increases. This is the fundamental conclusion of every responsible group that has examined the issue, most prominently the Simpson-Bowles commission, and it is the fundamental failure of the budget blueprint released Tuesday by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (3/20).

The Washington Post: Paul Ryan, Helping The Poor By Hurting Them
Ryan would cut $770 billion over 10 years from Medicaid and other health programs for the poor, compared with President Obama's budget. He takes an additional $205 billion from Medicare, $1.6 trillion from the Obama health-care legislation and $1.9 trillion from a category simply labeled "other mandatory." Pressed to explain this magic asterisk, Ryan allowed that the bulk of those "other mandatory" cuts come from food stamps, welfare, federal employee pensions and support for farmers (Dana Milbank, 3/20).

The Wall Street Journal: The Reform Republicans
The introduction of Paul Ryan's House fiscal 2013 budget yesterday is an important political moment even if it has no chance of becoming law this year. It shows that the reform wing of the Republican Party is alive and well, one year after Democrats and the press corps had called Mr. Ryan's fiscal 2012 budget political suicide (3/20).

The Wall Street Journal's Political Diary: Paul Ryan's Gamble
What is sure to be controversial in the plan are the cuts to sensitive entitlement programs. This budget saves on Medicare through "premium supports," which allow seniors to go out and purchase health insurance in the market, or stick with traditional Medicare, but at a lesser price. This is the plan co-authored by Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Mr. Ryan. The House plan would also block grant all federal welfare entitlements to the states. And one of the biggest savings comes from repealing ObamaCare spending and mandates (Stephen Moore, 3/20).

USA Today: GOP Budget Hurts Prospects For Deficit Deal
The Republicans, led by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, described their budget outline as a bold and gutsy move that cuts spending while overhauling the individual and corporate tax codes. Among its positives, it would reduce government debt from 73% of the economy of this year to 62% by 2022. It would also revise the Medicare overhaul introduced last year, making it more workable and politically palatable (3/20).

Bloomberg: Paul Ryan's Medicare Voucher Plan Improves With Each Pass
It remains a work in progress, but with further tweaking has the potential to be truly transformative…. The danger is that Ryan may be cutting costs too steeply, forcing Americans to choose from a stingier menu of options while shouldering ever-higher out-of-pocket costs. He may also be relying too heavily on seniors’ ability to make smart decisions about their insurance -- often when they are frail or seriously ill…. To avoid these pitfalls, Ryan should clarify that insurers wouldn't be able to charge any Medicare patient excessively high premiums (3/20).

The Dallas Morning News: Ryan Has A Better Medicare Overhaul
Paul Ryan has learned his lesson. The Wisconsin Republican took a drubbing last year for introducing a Medicare overhaul that would have eventually denied seniors access to Medicare as we know it today…. A year later and Ryan is back with a smarter overhaul for Medicare. The budget blueprint he is introducing this week rightly keeps its sights on modernizing the LBJ-era program but does not take it away as an alternative (3/20).

Denver Post: Who's Securing Medicare If 11,000 People A Day Are Joining?
But reasonable people should give Ryan and his supporters credit for at least crafting serious long-term proposals attacking Medicare costs. Politicians and their constituents can decide if those plans are too radical, but they shouldn't deny that big changes are on the way. At a talk with elderly Denver residents in Windsor Gardens this week, regional Medicare chief Jeff Hinson put it this way: 11,000 people a day are turning 65 and joining the national health plan. That number is too big to ignore (Michael Booth, 3/20).

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