KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

After Sequester, What Comes Next?

News outlets report that the next step for some GOP lawmakers will revolve around a budget plan that will end deficits by 2023. Along those lines, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has suggested a change in his Medicare plan.

The Washington Post: Republican Goal To Balance Budget Could Mean Deep Cuts To Health Programs
Anxiety is rising among House Republicans about a strategy of appeasement toward fiscal hard-liners that could require them to embrace not only the sequester but also sharp new cuts to federal health and retirement programs. Letting the sequester hit was just the first step in a pact forged in January between conservative leaders and Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) to keep the government open and the nation out of default. Now comes step 2: adopting a budget plan that would wipe out deficits entirely by 2023 (Montgomery, 3/4).

Politico: Paul Ryan Floats Change To Medicare Plan
Paul Ryan's budget will show how Republicans can balance a budget that's trillions of dollars out of whack. But the most significant unresolved issue comes down to a minuscule number: one year. Ryan — the House Budget Committee chairman — has privately been floating the idea of allowing his changes to Medicare to kick in for Americans younger than 56. In previous budgets, those 55 and older were exempted from his plan to turn Medicare into a premium-support — or voucher — program (Sherman and Allen, 3/4).

The Hill: GOP Centrists Balk At Ryan Medicare Shift
House Republican centrists are furious that GOP leaders are considering abandoning their pledge not to change Medicare retirement benefits for people 55 years and older. According to several sources, a handful of centrist GOP lawmakers attending a recent Tuesday Group luncheon erupted when Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) broke the news (Hooper, 3/5).

The Medicare NewsGroup: Distrust Of Government Is A Hard Hurdle To Jump In Medicare Reform
One reason that changes to the Medicare program will be hard to make is because people distrust the federal government yet cherish what it offers them. This is a hard conundrum to overcome. The latest polling makes this point with great vigor. And the discussions among experts within different parts of the political spectrum illustrate why President Obama and Congress have scant prospect of success in producing any alterations to Medicare. … Skepticism about government is the deepest since the Pew Foundation began polling in 1958, when it found that 73 percent of Americans trusted the government in Washington, D.C., "all the time or most of the time." Today, the level of trust has shrunk to a meager 26 percent, according to the latest polling, conducted last month (Rosenblatt, 3/4).

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