KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Potential Pact On Medicare Changes Could Lead To Budget Deal

The New York Times reports that a possible agreement between President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans on "broad systemic changes to Medicare" could help spur a budget deal. And The Wall Street Journal reports the White House is weighing inclusion of some entitlement changes in its 2014 budget proposal as a way to prod further talks. 

The New York Times: Talk of Medicare Changes Could Open Way to Budget Pact
As they explore possible fiscal deals, President Obama and Congressional Republicans have quietly raised the idea of broad systemic changes to Medicare that could produce significant savings and end the polarizing debate over Republican plans to privatize the insurance program for older Americans. While the two remain far apart on the central issue of new tax revenue, recent statements from both sides show possible common ground on curbing the costs of Medicare, suggesting some lingering chance, however small, for a budget bargain (Calmes and Pear, 3/28).

The Wall Street Journal: White House Weighing Entitlement Limits
The White House is strongly considering including limits on entitlement benefits in its fiscal 2014 budget—a proposal it first offered Republicans in December. The move would be aimed in part at keeping alive bipartisan talks on a major budget deal. Such a proposal could include steps that make many Democrats queasy, such as reductions in future Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security payments, but also items resisted by Republicans, such as higher taxes through limits on tax breaks, people close to the White House said (Paletta, 3/28).

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