KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

TRICARE Fees, CBO Numbers Draw Scrutiny

Politico reports that the House Armed Services Committee is preparing to take on defense spending issues -- including TRICARE fee increases. The Fiscal Times reports that questions about Congressional Budget Office analyses are coming from both sides of the political spectrum.

Politico: Panel Gears Up For Defense Spending Bill
In what's become an annual rite of spring, the House Armed Services Committee is preparing to set the parameters for defense spending and lay out the new priorities for a downsized military. … The president's budget plan would raise fees for TRICARE, which provides health care benefits for many servicemembers and veterans. The fee hikes have proved extremely unpopular, with veterans groups lobbying against them on Capitol Hill. And Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has seized on the issue on the campaign trail. The budget plan to be considered in committee next week would do away with the hikes. And in a preview of the debate to come (Wright, 5/2).

The Fiscal Times: New Assault on CBO's Numbers and Transparency
Neither CBO nor [the Joint Committee on Taxation] has the legal authority to pass legislation. However, their analyses often help determine whether a bill lives or dies. Both [Richard] Gephardt and [Grover] Norquist questioned the CBO's track record for accuracy. For example, they said that the CBO was way off in a projection of the long term cost of Medicare under President Obama's health care reform package (Hirsch, 5/2).

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