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Republicans Push New Budget Proposal Changing Medicare, Cutting Deeply into Medicaid: Media Views

Health on the Hill video examines changes in GOP proposal, Summaries of news reports from across American - see video

March 21, 2012 - The blueprint is an election-year marker that envisions a smaller government and deep cuts to entitlement and safety net programs. The Republican budget presented Tuesday by Rep. Paul Ryan has no chance of passage this year. Below are summaries of what others are reporting and below that is a video - KHN's Marilyn Werber Serafini and Mary Agnes Carey discuss the budget Ryan presented and how it differs from the proposal he released last year.

The New York Times: House GOP Lays Down Marker With New Budget Plan
House Republicans thrust their vision of a smaller government, a flatter tax code and a free-market Medicare system into the 2012 election season on Tuesday, banking that fears over surging federal deficits will trump longstanding voter allegiances to popular government programs (Weisman, 3/20).

The Washington Post: GOP Budget Plan Cuts Deeply Into Domestic Programs, Reshapes Medicare, Medicaid
House Republicans laid down a bold but risky election-year marker Tuesday, unveiling a budget proposal that aims to tame the national debt by reshaping Medicare and cutting deeply into Medicaid, … while reshuffling the tax code to sharply lower rates. Congressional Republicans plan to use the document to demonstrate their willingness to tackle the nation’s difficult fiscal problems head-on (Helderman and Montgomery, 3/20).

 

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Kaiser Health News: Health On The Hill: Analyzing Ryan's New Budget Proposal
Kaiser Health News' Marilyn Werber Serafini and Mary Agnes Carey discuss the budget Wis. Republican Rep. Paul Ryan released today and how it differs from the proposal he released last year (3/20). Watch the video or read the transcript. Other KHN coverage includes the following story, New Ryan Budget Would Transform Medicare And Medicaid (Werber Serafini, 3/20), Ryan plan documents and video clips from the press conference where the plan was released.

The Associated Press: Cut Spending Much More Deeply, House GOP Plan Says
Mixing deep cuts to safety-net programs for the poor with politically risky cost curbs for Medicare, Republicans controlling the House unveiled an election-year budget blueprint Tuesday that paints clear campaign differences with President Barack Obama. The announcement reignited a full-throated budget battle. Republicans cast themselves as stepping up to a federal deficit crisis long ignored by both parties, while Democrats and their allies responded with promises to protect the elderly and the poor from drastic cuts they said would harm the most vulnerable Americans (Taylor, 3/20).

The Associated Press: GOP Medicare Plan Borrows From And Repeals Obama's
A new Republican budget would repeal President Barack Obama's health care overhaul but put future retirees in a version of Medicare that strangely resembles one of the key cogs in that same plan. Sound contradictory? Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the top GOP budget writer, borrowed the idea of insurance exchanges, a big pooled marketplace, from the health care law enacted in Massachusetts when GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney was governor. Ryan wants to set one up for Medicare. Obama borrowed the same idea to make exchanges available to uninsured working families through his law (Alonso-Zaldivar, 3/21).

The Hill: CBO: Ryan Policies Would Cut Medicare Spending, Increase Number Of Uninsured
Medicare benefits would likely shrink under Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) latest proposal, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday. The budget office also said the number of people without health insurance could be "much higher" under Ryan's plan because it would repeal President Obama's healthcare law. Ryan’s Medicare plan would convert some of the program’s funding into subsidies for private insurance. Seniors could choose between the traditional single-payer program or a private plan (Baker, 3/20).

The Fiscal Times: Ryan's New Budget Overhauls Medicare and Taxes
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif [said] "The American people have already rejected this plan before, and this year will be no different. Americans' priorities are clear: Republicans must work with Democrats to preserve and strengthen Medicare, not dismantle it" (Pianin and Hirsch, 3/20).

MedPage Today: GOP Tries Again on Medicare Overhaul
Once a beneficiary chooses a plan, the government would send that plan a "premium support" payment equal to either the cost of traditional Medicare or the second least-expensive private plan, whichever is less. The arrangement is not technically considered a voucher program because the payment goes directly to the plan rather than to the beneficiary themselves (Frieden, 3/20).

Politico Pro: House GOP May Move 'Duals' Into Medicare
Once you crack the code words, the House budget blueprint contains another potential big change to health policy: having Medicare take over the "dual eligibles." House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's proposal doesn't say it outright, but a committee staffer confirms that the document hints at this policy change by saying, "Medicare will provide additional assistance for lower-income beneficiaries and those with greater health care needs" (Feder, 3/20).

The Wall Street Journal: Ryan Plan Revives Deficit Duel
Rep. Paul Ryan's budget instantly became the centerpiece of an election-year debate over the size of government on Tuesday, thrusting back into the spotlight a topic—the deficit—that has been largely overlooked by the presidential candidates. … The Budget Committee will begin finalizing the bill Wednesday. … The Democrat-controlled Senate is all but certain to reject the Ryan plan, if it considers it at all. … Mr. Ryan also reiterated his plan for turning Medicare from a program that pays directly for health care into one that would subsidize insurance premiums for seniors, allowing them to buy either a private plan or traditional Medicare (Bendavid, 3/20).

Politico: Paul Ryan Budget Plan Triggers Wars Anew
Congress returned full throttle to the budget wars Tuesday with rival plans and accusatory rhetoric, spiced by November's elections and the bad memories of last summer's debt battle. House Republicans moved first, rolling out their plan to cut by half the deficits in President Barack Obama's February budget — but in the process also walking away from agreements made in the Budget Control Act last August (Rogers, 3/20).

Reuters: Republican Budget Draws Election Contrast With Obama
House Republicans placed a major election-year bet on Tuesday on a deficit-slashing budget proposal the party hopes will win over voters and quell any concerns about the plan's most controversial element -- a sweeping revamp of Medicare. The plan, authored by Congressman Paul Ryan, seeks to draw a sharp contrast between Republicans' vision of a smaller, less-intrusive federal government with that of President Barack Obama, who stresses the importance of social safety nets and emphasizes the positive role government plays in the economy (Lawder, 3/20).

Market Watch: Republican Budget Throws Down Election Gauntlet
House Republicans unveiled an election-year budget blueprint Tuesday that dramatically overhauls the U.S. tax code and aims for deep spending cuts, seeking to draw a sharp contrast with President Barack Obama. The budget, introduced by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, provides for just two individual tax brackets — 10% and 25% — cuts spending by about $5 trillion over 10 years relative to President Obama's budget, and shifts Medicaid to states to save money. It also balances the budget by 2040 and reprises a controversial plan to transform Medicare (Schroeder, 3/20).

Politico Pro: The Political Realities Of The New Ryan Plan
Paul Ryan likes to talk about how the conversation is already changing on Medicare — but you'd be hard pressed to find any signs that his new budget will help that happen. In his latest budget blueprint Tuesday, Ryan swapped out his old Medicare proposal for a newer one based on the plan he drew up last year with Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon. But he kept all of the other health care changes pretty much the same, including Medicaid block grants and a repeal of the health care law — two big fingers in the eyes of Democrats. And he didn't get even Wyden's endorsement (Nather, 3/20).

The Fiscal Times: Ryan Budget Spurs New Round of Political Warfare
Rather than pegging the Medicare spending growth rate to a predetermined formula, the Ryan plan would use competitive bidding among hospitals and doctors to contain costs. By contrast, President Obama's 2010 health care reform legislation created a 15-member Independent Payment Advisory Board, to contain Medicare spending growth (Pianin and Hirsch, 3/20).

CQ HealthBeat: Gingrey Says AARP, Republicans Set For More Medicare Discussions
Meetings between congressional Republicans and the influential seniors' group AARP to discuss the future of Medicare are slated to continue, Rep. Phil Gingrey said Tuesday. And the Georgia lawmaker said he's committed to maintaining a relationship between the two. "What we are working on now is setting up a small ad hoc group to sit down," Gingrey said in an interview. At least one senator will attend, as well as a handful of House Republicans and AARP's representatives, said Gingrey, who is chairman of the GOP Doctors Caucus (Norman, 3/20).

Modern Healthcare: Provider Groups, Lawmakers Blast Ryan Medicare, Medicaid Plans
Provider groups and lawmakers wasted no time criticizing the House Republicans' fiscal 2013 budget plan that would offer a premium-support model for Medicare and shift Medicaid to a block grant program for states. The plan was released earlier by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). "Medicaid works. It provides coverage to more than 60 million Americans at lower administrative costs than private insurance and lower per-capita costs than Medicare," Dr. Bruce Siegel, president and CEO of the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, said in a statement Tuesday (Zigmond, 3/20).

Health on the Hill: Analyzing Ryan's New Budget Proposal
KHN's Marilyn Werber Serafini and Mary Agnes Carey discuss the budget Republican Rep. Paul Ryan released Tuesday and how it differs from the proposal he released last year.

Some of this 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 rights reserved.

 

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