Medicare a Hot Button as Budget Proposals from
Political Parties Smash Head-On
GOP’S Ryan presents ‘austere budget proposal that
looks a lot like one they approved last year that Democrats quickly
dismissed. Republicans revived plans to overhaul Medicare, slash the
social safety net for the poor and bolster defense — all while lowering
corporate and individual tax rates to no more than 25%’
March 13, 2013 – The political parties are running
out their budget proposals and the general consensus is they are “miles
apart.” The House GOP plan, which was unveiled yesterday, would repeal
the health law's subsidized insurance exchanges and Medicaid expansion
and turn Medicare into a premium-support system. The Senate Democrats'
plan, scheduled for release today, would lower domestic spending in part
by saving $275 billion through changes to Medicare and Medicaid that are
smaller than those proposed by Republicans.
Below is a summary of coverage in key media:
The New York
Times: Two Parties' Budgets Show Big Rift As GOP Renews 2012
Senate Democrats and House Republicans on Tuesday outlined vastly
divergent approaches to shoring up the government’s finances, a reminder
of how far apart they remain on fiscal policy even as both sides insist
publicly that a bipartisan compromise is possible. … The Republican plan
sets out to balance the budget in a decade and would cut spending by
$4.6 trillion through 2023, in large part by rolling back many of Mr.
Obama's signature legislative accomplishments. It would repeal the
health care overhaul of 2009, eliminate the subsidized insurance
exchanges and Medicaid expansion that make up the core of the law, and
turn Medicare into a system of private insurance plans financed by
federal vouchers (Peters and Weisman, 3/12).
Los Angeles Times:
Two Sides Still Far Apart In Budget Proposals
Just before Obama arrived for the latest installment of his Capitol Hill
charm offensive, House Republicans, led by Rep. Paul D. Ryan of
Wisconsin, unveiled an austere budget proposal that looks a lot like one
they approved last year that Democrats quickly dismissed. Republicans
revived plans to overhaul Medicare, slash the social safety net for the
poor and bolster defense — all while lowering corporate and individual
tax rates to no more than 25%. … Senate Democrats, meanwhile, sitting
down to lunch with the president, offered a counterproposal that would
raise nearly $2 trillion toward deficit reduction, with equal parts
coming from taxes and spending cuts. But their plan does not balance the
budget for the foreseeable future (Mascaro and Memoli, 3/12).
Budget Plans Or Works Of Fiction Democrats and Republicans have put together their dream budgets —
political documents that are more like wish lists than usable road maps
for the future of government spending. Both have no chance of becoming
law, but they do help explain the impasse over spending and debt in
Washington (Nather, 3/12).
The Wall Street
Journal: GOP Budget Establishes Contrast With Democrats Republican budget standard-bearer Paul Ryan on Tuesday offered his
party's most provocative fiscal framework in years, calling for Medicare
and Medicaid overhauls and new limits on defense spending not previously
endorsed by party leaders. The White House criticized Mr. Ryan's budget
proposal Tuesday, calling it the "wrong course" to reduce the deficit.
The House Republican plan would burden the middle class by slashing
spending without raising taxes on upper-income households, White House
Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a written statement (Paletta, 3/12).
Paul Ryan Budget Ax Hits Health Programs Hard The House Republican budget released Tuesday would wring about 70
percent of its spending cuts from health programs — including defunding
Obamacare — to bring the budget into balance a decade from now. Even
though the federal health care law has survived the gauntlet of the
Supreme Court and the presidential election since Rep. Paul Ryan
released his last budget one year ago, the Wisconsin lawmaker again
calls for defunding it. In fact, defunding the Affordable Care Act
accounts for close to half, or about $1.84 trillion, of his proposed
deficit reduction. His plan calls for balancing the budget in 2023
Post: Ryan Sets Stage For A Budget Duel, Targets Health-Care
Law On Tuesday, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) rolled
out a 10-year spending plan that would revive the most controversial
prescriptions from last year's GOP budget, including a partial
privatization of Medicare and a repeal of the health-care law that is
Obama's signature policy achievement. Meanwhile, Senate Budget Committee
Chairman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) briefed her colleagues on a competing
plan, to be released Wednesday, that would raise taxes by nearly $1
trillion over the next decade and spend nearly $100 billion on a new
jobs package — ideas Republicans have firmly rejected (Montgomery,
Ryan Budget Proposal Echoes Obamacare While Rejecting It Health policy watchers might have been amused reading the latest
blueprint for the federal budget, out today. That's because once again
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan proposes a full repeal of the
Affordable Care Act, which Republicans refer to as "Obamacare." But this
time, the proposal describes the changes it envisions to the Medicare
program in very Obamacare-like terms (Rovner, 3/12).
House GOP Budget Would Repeal ACA, Voucherize Medicare In a replay of the 2012 presidential campaign, House Republicans today
released a proposed budget for fiscal 2014 that would repeal the
Affordable Care Act (ACA), partially privatize Medicare, block-grant
Medicaid, and when all is said and done, reduce the federal deficit by
$4.6 trillion over 10 years, leading to a balanced budget in 2023.
Congress has "to fix our entitlements and to grow our economy" to avoid
a debt crisis, said Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), who chairs the House budget
committee, in an introduction to the document (Lowes, 3/12).
Press: House Republicans Again Plan To Repeal Health Care,
Cut Medicaid House Republicans unveiled their latest budget outline on Tuesday,
sticking to their plans to try to repeal so-called Obamacare, cut
domestic programs ranging from Medicaid to college grants and require
future Medicare patients to bear more of the program's cost. The GOP
plan came as President Barack Obama traveled to Capitol Hill to meet
with Senate Democrats on the budget and a broad range of other proposals
that are part of his second-term agenda. The president has launched a
new outreach to rank-and-file Republicans, and his Hill visit is one of
several planned with lawmakers of both parties this week (3/12).
House Republican Budget Offers More Of The Same By unveiling a budget blueprint that would erase the deficit in just 10
years, House Republicans sought on Tuesday to make that goal the gold
standard and bare minimum for all future budget battles between the two
parties…Ryan would turn Medicare into a fixed-cost program for people 54
and younger, beginning in 2024, by giving them a set amount of money to
purchase their own health care or a traditional Medicare plan on the
private market…His budget turns Medicaid and food-stamp funding over to
the states—effectively transforming these programs from open-ended
entitlements and forms of assistance for anyone in need into programs
with set budgets (Cook, 3/12).
GOP Budget Cuts Spending, Changes Medicare And Kicks Off Fresh Budget
Battles U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan introduced the House GOP budget plan on Tuesday,
kicking off a new round of budget battles on Capitol Hill. Ryan’s budget
balances in 10 years, thanks to both $4.6 trillion in spending cuts (out
of $46 trillion-worth of spending over 10-year budget, he said) and by
accepting the new revenue that came from January's fiscal cliff deal
At Heart Of Paul Ryan Budget: Repealing Obamacare This week's dueling budget releases show that the fight over health care
reform and entitlements is far from over — and the parties are still
miles apart on how to move forward with either plan. But what is clear
is that implementation of the health law is moving forward, Medicaid
won't be converted into a "block grant" anytime soon and there is no
politically easy answer for Medicare (Haberkorn and Norman, 3/13).
Republicans Revive Medicare Subsidy Plan Ryan's proposal, unveiled Tuesday, is essentially the same as others the
House Budget Committee chair has proposed in previous years. This plan
formed the heart of the Republicans' entitlement reform platform during
last year's election, when Ryan ran as the GOP vice presidential
candidate. Ryan argues that the Republican Medicare proposal keeps costs
under control through competition and more choices for patients.
President Obama and other Democrats deride it as a voucher program that
will leave seniors with higher health care costs (Luhby, 3/12).
Press/Washington Post: Obama Says He Won't 'Chase A Balanced
Budget Just For The Sake Of Balance' President Barack Obama is criticizing a proposed House Republican
budget, saying it would turn Medicare into a voucher-like program, cut
deeply into programs such as Medicaid and increase tax payments by the
middle class in order to achieve promised lower tax rates. Asked in an
ABC World News interview Tuesday whether he will propose a budget that
balances in 10 years, Obama said he would not (3/12).
The Wall Street
Journal: Democrats' Budget Mixes Tax Increases, Spending Cuts Senate Democrats will propose raising $975 billion in new taxes over the
next decade in the budget they will release this week, setting up a
sharp contrast with a House Republican plan to balance the budget over
10 years without new tax increases. … Democrats would lower domestic
spending in part by saving $275 billion through changes to federal
health-care programs that are smaller in scale than Republicans have
proposed for Medicare and Medicaid (Peterson, 3/12).
And regarding the continuing resolution -
Harkin: White House Backed Off Push For More Healthcare Funding The Obama administration decided it could live without extra money it
had requested to help implement its signature healthcare law, Sen. Tom
Harkin (D-Iowa) said Tuesday. Senate Democrats released a bill Tuesday
to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year. The proposal
does not include an extra $1 billion the White House had requested for
the healthcare implementation effort (Baker, 3/12).
This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report -
a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news
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