KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Obama Budget Draws GOP Criticism For Not Taking On Entitlements

Although reports indicate President Barack Obama's proposed budget would reduce the deficit by more than $1 trillion over 10 years, it did not offer major changes to Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security - which total about 40 percent of federal spending.

The Washington Post: In Third Year, Obama Proposes A More Modest Course
Even as the administration said it wants to reduce the deficit by more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years, it declined to propose major changes to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid, which combined account for more than 40 percent of federal spending. And the proposed increases in funding for education, science and research, while significant, don't match the ambition of the policies Obama pursued in his first two years in office (Bacon, 2/14).

The Wall Street Journal: GOP Denounces Absence Of Entitlements Overhaul
President Barack Obama's $3.7 trillion budget plan unveiled Monday punts the most pressing fiscal issues driving up U.S. debt to at least later this year, when the White House and Republicans are expected to meet behind closed doors to tackle deficit reduction. Republicans denounced Mr. Obama's spending plan as a failure of presidential leadership - "an unserious budget," as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) put it - citing a failure to address the growth of Social Security, Medicare and other entitlement programs (Weisman, 2/15).

USA Today: Budget Battle Waged Over Sliver Of Spending
Not counting what the government spends on national security and social safety-net programs such as Medicare and Social Security, spending on other domestic programs accounts for just 12 percent of the overall budget. Obama put off a bigger, politically riskier battle over the possibility of trillions of dollars in cuts to the popular entitlement programs. "This budget is a down payment" on restoring the nation's fiscal health, White House budget director Jacob Lew said Monday (Hall, Schouten and Wolf, 2/14).

Kaiser Health News provides the text of the President's budget blueprint, which details the administration's proposed 2012 budget, including nearly $80 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services to fund programs and implementation of the health care overhaul (2/14).

Correction: In yesterday's budget headline, we inadvertently referred to dollar figures in billions rather than trillions. KHN regrets the error.

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