KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Obama Plan Includes $320 Billion In Medicare, Medicaid Cuts Over 10 Years

The squeeze will be felt by future Medicare recipients, in reduced payments to drug companies and hospitals, and with higher costs to states. And, though many parts of the health sector are grumbling about the proposal, some health advocates say the president's vision is less painful than some of the ideas that have recently been on the table. 

The New York Times: Obama Proposes $320 Billion In Medicare And Medicaid Cuts Over 10 Years
Mr. Obama proposed higher premiums and deductibles for many Medicare beneficiaries and lower Medicare payments to teaching hospitals and rural hospitals. He would start charging co-payments to frail homebound older people who receive home health services. And he would reduce the growth of federal payments to states for treating low-income people under Medicaid (9/19).

Kaiser Health News: How Obama Plans To Cut Health Programs By $320 Billion
Kaiser Health News staff writer Phil Galewitz reports: "In his plan to trim the federal deficit, President Barack Obama Monday proposed $320 billion in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, largely by changing how the federal government pays health providers, slashing payments to drug companies, and dramatically changing the way it splits the costs of Medicaid with the states, according to a fact sheet the White House released" (Galewitz, 9/20).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Obama's Deficit Plan Targets Drug Companies, Hospitals And Future Medicare Beneficiaries
Health care savings in President Barack Obama's deficit-reduction plan would squeeze future Medicare recipients, cut payments to drug companies and hospitals, and shift costs to states. Still, some advocates say the president's approach is less painful than other major ideas being debated this year, from privatizing Medicare to letting the states run Medicaid without a federal guarantee that the poor would get needed care (9/20).

Bloomberg: Drug Spending Targeted In Obama's $320 Billion Health Cut
President Barack Obama’s deficit-trimming proposal would cut $320 billion from U.S. health programs in prescription drug and nursing home spending and by increasing individuals’ payments for Medicare coverage. The biggest reduction is $135 billion in drug prices the government pays companies led by New York-based Pfizer Inc. (PFE) and Merck & Co. of Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, for low-income beneficiaries. The White House released its plan today (Armstrong, 9/20).

NPR: To Cut Deficit, Obama Takes A Scalpel To Health Programs
President Obama's plan to cut the deficit doesn't exactly spare Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal health programs. But he also doesn't propose the sweeping sorts of changes envisioned by House Republicans earlier this year (Rovner, 9/20).

The Wall Street Journal: Obama Yokes Benefit Cuts To New Taxes
Mr. Obama's plan wouldn't leave Medicare untouched. Changes to that program and Medicaid — in large part coming from cuts in payments to drug companies and long-term care providers — are part of $580 billion in proposed cuts to mandatory spending programs (Lee and Bendavid, 9/20).

CQ HealthBeat: Obama Plan Would Make $320 Billion In Health Cuts, Including Medicare, Medicaid
The deficit reduction plan President Obama announced Monday morning includes $320 billion in health cuts over a decade; $248 billion of the reductions would come from Medicare and $73 billion from Medicaid. What Obama did not recommend was an increase in the Medicare eligibility age, something that up until this past weekend White House aides said was still being discussed in the West Wing (Reichard, Norman, 9/19).

The Fiscal Times: How Obama Sticks It to the Health Care Industry
The president proposed cutting ACA subsidies for seniors who qualify for Medicaid by counting their Social Security payments as income. The failure to do so was considered a glitch in reform law. However, the $14.6 billion over the next 10 years raised from low-income seniors has already been targeted by both Republicans and Democrats on the Hill to help pay for keeping physician payment rates stable next year (Goozner, 9/20). 

The Hill: Almost All Stakeholders Grumble About Obama Health Care Cuts
Obama's plan would cut programs that many Democrats prize and bolster initiatives that Republicans have attacked. It would require seniors to pay more for their Medicare benefits while cutting payments to doctors. It would shift Medicaid costs to the states. And it’s anathema to powerful health care industries including hospitals and pharmaceutical companies. Even some groups that strongly supported Obama’s health care reform effort were sharply critical of the proposals he unveiled Monday. AARP blasted sections of the plan that would require seniors to pay more for certain Medicare benefits. The proposals would raise deductibles and require co-pays for some services (Baker, 9/19).

Medscape: Obama Deficit Plan Has Medicare Provider, Beneficiary Cuts
Physicians would feel their nick in a number of ways: ... [The Obama administration] wants to end an "add-on payment" for physicians and hospitals in certain low-population states in 2013, .... would require prior authorization for the most expensive imaging services, beginning in 2013, along with lower reimbursement for them. ... As part of an initiative to reduce improper Medicare payments, the administration would penalize providers who fail to update their enrollment information (Lowes, 9/19). 

Reuters: Hospitals, Drugmakers Lash Out At Obama Deficit Plan
The U.S. hospital and drug industries lashed out at provisions of President Barack Obama's deficit reduction plan that would saddle them with more than $200 billion in federal health care spending cuts. Lobbyists vowed to fight proposals for Medicare, which covers the elderly, that are aimed at saving $135 billion on prescriptions by requiring drugmakers to provide steeper rebates similar to those for Medicaid, which covers the poor. Another $42 billion would come from adjustments in Medicare payments to hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and in-patient rehabilitation centers (Morgan, 9/19).

Modern Healthcare: Proposed Cuts Seen As Threat To Care, Jobs
President Barack Obama's recommended Medicare and Medicaid cuts issued today to the congressional deficit reduction super committee will reduce beneficiaries' access to care and eliminate at least 200,000 jobs over the coming decade, according to a leading hospital advocate. Richard Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association, blasted the president's ideas to reduce federal health care spending by $320 billion over 10 years as "the wrong prescription" for national health and employment, according to a written statement from the AHA (Daly, 9/19).

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