KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Ryan Praised For ‘Sticking His Neck Out’; Others Call Budget Plan A ‘Path To Nowhere’

Commentators review the federal budget proposal announced Tuesday by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan.

Chicago Tribune: Ryan's Challenge, Part 2
(Rep. Paul) Ryan's new plan isn't an instant fix. Like Version 1.0, it goes easy on defense spending, calls for repealing Obamacare, and leaves Social Security for later. Ryan's plan also has some holes in it. The nonpartisan deficit hawks at the Concord Coalition praised him for sticking his neck out on health spending and tax reform, but also said he's missing key details and his "assumptions for discretionary spending appear unrealistic, both in the short term and longer term." What we like is that Ryan, unlike a lot of people in Washington, is willing, at significant political risk, to force the debate on the grim budget decisions that have to be made (3/22).

The Washington Post: Flunking The Medicare Debate
One thing that we in the so-called mainstream media — those of us who still believe in striving for some semblance of fairness and objectivity — need to avoid is adopting the partisan vocabulary of left or right and treating it as neutral. On Medicare, we're flunking that test (Robert J. Samuelson, 3/21).

The Washington Post: Paul Ryan's Path To Nowhere
Ryan wants to use an aging America and the bogus but superficially appealing constraint of "historic levels of spending and taxation" to force massive reductions in the rest of government. That’s why the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and others Tuesday were already calculating that Ryan’s new plan would basically zero out everything in government a few decades from now, save for Social Security, Medicare and defense (Matt Miller, 3/21).

Bloomberg: Ryan May Lead to Single-Payer Health Care
It’s unlikely that the model in the Republican budget will prove sustainable. That legislation would repeal the Affordable Care Act, cut Medicaid by a third and adopt competitive bidding for Medicare. The likely result? The nation's uninsured population would soar. In the long run -- and quite possibly in the short run -- that will increase the pressure for a universal system. Because Republicans don't really have an idea for creating one, Democrats will step into the void (Ezra Klein, 3/21).

The Wall Street Journal: Ryan's Hat Is In The Ring
Paul Ryan's admirers had their reasons for wanting him on the (presidential candidate) field, and mine comes down to one—the single, stark point Mr. Ryan has made since his side lost the health-care battle with Barack Obama, and which he made this week: "It is rare in American politics to arrive at a moment in which the debate revolves around the fundamental nature of American democracy and the social contract. But that is where we are" (Daniel Henninger, 3/21).

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