KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Boehner Draws Line In Sand On Debt-Limit Vote

One of his main themes was the need for "honest conversations" about how to control the costs of the Medicare program - a statement some viewed as a signal that the GOP is still committed to restructuring at least some elements of the health insurance program for the elderly.

The New York Times: Boehner Outlines Demands On Debt Limit Fight
Speaker John A. Boehner said Monday that Republicans would insist on trillions of dollars in federal spending cuts in exchange for their support of an increase in the federal debt limit sought by the Obama administration to prevent a government default later this year. … Mr. Boehner also said the debt talks should include "honest conversations" about how to rein in the costs of the Medicare program, and he advocated fundamental changes. Other senior Republicans acknowledged last week that any changes to the health insurance program for older Americans are unlikely to incorporate the party's proposal to begin providing private insurance subsidies for future retirees (Hulse, 5/9).

Los Angeles Times: Boehner Demands Trillions In Cuts In Exchange For Debt Vote
House Speaker John A. Boehner said Monday that Republicans wanted trillions in budget cuts in exchange for their vote to increase the nation's borrowing limit and avoid default. … Boehner has been increasingly caught in a political squeeze. On one side, the Obama administration and its allies have demanded that GOP officials reassure markets that they won't gamble with U.S. debt obligations. On the other, "tea party" activists charged Monday that GOP leaders were selling out the nation's conservatives. Last week, GOP leaders backed away from the party's controversial proposal to overhaul and eventually privatize Medicare (Mascaro and Hennessey, 5/9).

The Washington Post: Boehner Demands 'Trillions' In Spending Cuts In Exchange For Lifting Debt Ceiling
Delivering a sermon on fiscal austerity to a Wall Street crowd clamoring for compromise on the debt limit, Boehner (Ohio) firmly rejected any effort to raise taxes. He also called on Democrats to engage in "honest conversations about how best to preserve Medicare," signaling that House Republicans remain committed to restructuring at least some portions of the program (Kane and Montgomery, 5/9).

The Fiscal Times: Boehner: 'Trillions' in Cuts to Raise Debt Ceiling
Both political parties remain far apart on most other details and will face staunch ideological opposition to any compromise that violates core principles of the party faithful. For Republicans, that means ... [they] refuse to consider increasing federal spending as a share of the economy to accommodate the health care and retirement income needs of an aging society. ... Liberals, on the other hand, are adamantly opposed to spending caps, in part because it would mean sharp cuts in health care and retirement benefits for seniors and social programs for the poor (Pianin and Goozner, 5/10).

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