KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Debt-Ceiling Pressure Increases As Deadline Approaches

News outlets report that states are getting more nervous and are taking steps to prepare for the loss in federal dollars. Meanwhile, in the background, political maneuvering surrounding Medicare and Medicaid continues.

The Washington Post: Boehner, Other GOP Leaders Ramp Up Pressure On Republicans To Pass Debt Plan
House GOP leaders mounted a furious bid Wednesday to win support for legislation designed to ease the nation's debt crisis, delivering a tongue-lashing to their most conservative lawmakers and casting Thursday's roll call as nothing less than a vote of confidence in their stewardship of the chamber. … Across the Capitol, Reid continued to oppose Boehner's two-step approach to lifting the debt ceiling, which would entail expanding the government's borrowing authority for a few months and then holding another vote early next year on a further increase (Kane and Montgomery, 7/27).

The Washington Post: Obama, White House Seek To Reassure Base On Debt Ceiling Talks
The White House is waging an aggressive behind-the-scenes campaign to reassure core Democratic activists, following weeks of criticism from liberals who fear that President Obama has given too much ground in his debt-ceiling talks with Republicans. Senior aides are holding conference calls to take questions from leaders of black and Hispanic organizations, local elected officials, and other political allies nationwide. Obama spoke by phone this week to a group of college student body presidents to seek their help in lobbying for a compromise. And top economic advisers have huddled in the West Wing in recent days with pastors and advocates for seniors, children and the poor - including one session with Easter Seals and families it serves to discuss the importance of Medicaid to disabled children (Wallsten, 7/27).

USA Today: States Nervously Watch Debt-Ceiling Impasse
The U.S. government's stalemate over raising the debt limit is taking a growing toll on states as Tuesday's deadline draws near, with some canceling bond sales and identifying roadwork and other expenditures that could be delayed. … Even more worrisome is that states receive about 35 percent of their revenue from the federal government, including funds to build roads and schools and to help pay Medicaid and unemployment insurance (Davidson, 7/27).

Politico: Republicans' Medicare Plan Backed By Ad Campaign
The conservative American Action Network is launching a large-scale mail and newspaper ad campaign, targeting a long list of House districts to shore up Republicans on the issue of Medicare. The campaign, which includes both mail pieces and newspaper ads, charges Democrats with attempting to "balance the budget on the backs of seniors" with a proposal to amend Medicare Part D (Burns, 7/27).

California Healthline: Ranking the Reforms at Risk in a Deficit Deal
Here's one attempt to decode the debate and figure out what a deficit-reduction deal - any deal - would mean for the health care sector and the Affordable Care Act, starting with the programs and initiatives that are most at risk. Prevention Funds: High Risk ... Medicaid Eligibility and Funding Expansions: High Risk ... CLASS Act: Moderate Risk ... Individual Mandate: Low Risk (Diamond, 7/27).

Kaiser Health News: Health On The Hill: Medicare, Medicaid Taken Off Table In Budget Talks
Neither the Boehner nor the Reid plans include cuts to Medicare or Medicaid. KHN's Mary Agnes Carey talks with Jackie Judd about why that happened and what could bring these entitlements back into the deficit-reduction conversation (7/27).

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