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Senior Citizen Politics
President Obamas Budget Offers Health Care Cuts to
Stop Big Medicare Pay Cut for Doctors
Roundup of media reports by Kaiser Health News
indicates the plan avoids tackling entitlement spending
14, 2011 - President Barack Obama's budget plan includes a two-year
Medicare "doc-fix" that uses heavy cuts in other health payments to
stave-off a scheduled 25 percent reduction in Medicare physician
reimbursements. Meanwhile, news outlets also report the plan
"avoids" tackling entitlement spending.
Offer $3.7 Trillion Budget Blueprint
The Washington Post
will roll out a $3.7 trillion budget blueprint Monday that would trim or
terminate more than 200 federal programs next year and make key
investments in education, transportation and research in a bid to boost
the nation's economy and reduce record budget deficits.
administration official said Obama's budget request maps "a sustainable
path" that would stabilize government finances in preparation for a
broader debate about how to tackle the biggest drivers of future
deficits: Social Security and health care for the elderly, as well as a
tax code that offers more in breaks and deductions than it collects in
administration officials pointed to two significant changes that would
improve the budget outlook by eliminating long-standing gimmicks
Congress has used to hide the true depth of the red ink. The first would
cover the cost of adjusting Medicare to ensure that payments to
physicians are not subject to steep reductions (Montgomery, 2/14).
Challenge: Implement Health Reform While Cutting Back The
faces two major challenges when he unveils his health budget Monday:
showing that he's serious about fiscal discipline while making sure
implementation of his health care reform law has a clear path. His
health budget will receive extra scrutiny this year given that his
fiscal commission called health care spending the nation's "single
largest fiscal challenge" and Republicans are angling to defund the law.
But Obama's budget likely won't provide too many surprises because the
reform law has already done a lot of the heavy lifting on spending cuts,
lobbyist sources said on Friday.
Care Act slows the growth of Medicare spending by about $500 billion
over 10 years (Millman and Pecquet, 2/13).
Cuts Proposed To Pay For Two-Year Medicare Fix
Obama's 2012 budget proposal delays a steep cut in Medicare
reimbursement rates for doctors by squeezing health care payments for a
broad cross-section of medical providers, administration officials said.
The budget proposal would postpone for two years a scheduled 25 percent
cut in the Medicare physician payment formula, known as the Sustainable
Growth Rate (SGR), that's set to go into effect at the end of the year (Pecquet,
Entitlements In Fiscal 2012 Budget Request
Obama will present a fiscal 2012 budget request Monday that his
administration contends will return annual deficits to a sustainable
level by mid-decade without substantial cuts to Medicare, Medicaid or
Social Security. The plan cuts $1.1 trillion in deficits over the coming
decade, with about two-thirds coming from spending reductions and the
rest from tax increases, according to two senior administration
officials (Dennis, 2/14).
Won't See Big Cuts
The Wall Street Journal
and congressional Republicans moved this week toward a clash over
spending cuts needed in light of growing deficits, but both sides are
largely deferring a major budget challenge: how to overhaul the costly
entitlement programs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid (Paletta,
Hook and Bendavid, 2/11).
Spending Plan Criticized For Avoiding Deficit Commission's Major
The Washington Post
Some who worked
on Obama's fiscal panel were also disappointed by his decision not to
endorse any of the major elements of their deficit-reduction plan, which
calls for raising the Social Security retirement age, charging wealthy
seniors more for Medicare and limiting popular tax breaks such as the
mortgage interest deduction. The plan has attracted support from key
members of both parties and is the focus of an effort in the Senate to
develop a bipartisan spending plan (Montgomery, 2/14).
Kaiser Health News tracked weekend news coverage, including reports
GOP's proposed budget cuts and the
inclusion of a two-year "doc fix" in the President's budget plan.
information is reprinted from
kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J.
Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser
Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives and sign up
for email delivery. © Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. All
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