KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Ryan Budget Plan Stirs Opposition On Both Sides Of The Aisle

The proposal from House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., would cut $5 trillion over the next decade by repealing the Affordable Care Act and making sharp cuts to health care programs for the middle class and the poor. Democrats are incorporating the proposal into their midterm campaign strategy, while some Republicans, angered by the House leadership's handling of the 'doc fix' vote, are also expressing doubts.

Politico: Paul Ryan Budget Faces Bumps Amid GOP Dissent
And the simmering dispute is significant as it carries political consequences. Even the smallest group of members voting “no” can potentially put a vote in jeopardy and give a black eye to Ryan — a potential 2016 presidential contender — and Republican leadership. This is the most serious fallout from the leadership’s effort last week to pass a “doc fix” bill. In the blink of an eye last Thursday, Republican leadership used a voice vote to pass a patch of reimbursement rates for physicians who serve Medicare patients. No one had the chance to vote for or against the bill, which faced opposition from both parties (Sherman and French, 4/2).

The Associated Press: GOP Budget Slashes Spending, Aid To Poor
A budget plan stuffed with familiar proposals to cut across a wide swath of the federal budget breezed through the House Budget Committee on Wednesday, but its sharp cuts to health care coverage for the middle class and the poor, food stamps and popular domestic programs are a nonstarter with President Barack Obama (4/2).

The Washington Post: Ryan Budget Plan In Democrats’ Crosshairs
Congressional Democrats said Wednesday that the new House Republican budget plan will play a central role in Democratic midterm election strategy. … The Ryan plan released this week closely resembles the House GOP budget requests proposed and passed in recent years. The plan would cut federal spending by $5 trillion over the next decade by effectively repealing the Affordable Care Act, making deep cuts to Medicare and cutting taxes significantly for the nation’s wealthiest earners (O’Keefe, 4/2).

The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Why Democrats Like Ryan’s Budget
The DCCC Wednesday launched a new campaign called “Battleground: Middle Class” featuring ads and other efforts to attack the GOP budget proposals to revamp Medicare, replace Medicaid with state block grants, and cut spending in domestic programs throughout the budget (Hook, 4/2).

Meanwhile, in other Capitol Hill news -

Politico: Reality Hits Ron Wyden’s Idealism
The awkward episode came as Wyden was engaged in a quixotic effort to thwart a bill personally crafted by Reid and House Speaker John Boehner. The deal achieved exactly what Wyden didn’t want: a temporary patch in Medicare reimbursement rates that punted a long-term decision to another year. The measure passed the Senate over Wyden’s objection and President Barack Obama signed it into law on Tuesday (Raju and Haberkorn, 4/2).

And, on the legislative front -

The New York Times: Mental Health Groups Split On Bill To Overhaul Care
Lawmakers, patient advocates and the millions of Americans living with a psychiatric diagnosis agree that the nation’s mental health care system is broken, and on Thursday, Congress will hear testimony on the most ambitious overhaul plan in decades, a bill that has already stirred longstanding divisions in mental health circles (Carey, 4/2).

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