First Edition: April 5, 2011

Today's headlines reflect the anticipation surrounding the unveiling of a plan by House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan, R-Wis., that would dramatically 'remake' health policy.  

Kaiser Health News: Questions Abound As Washington Awaits Ryan Plan For Medicare
According to Kaiser Health News: "House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., will leave many details to Congress as he unveils Tuesday his plan to make major changes to Medicare as part of a fiscal 2012 budget resolution" (4/4). Kaiser Health News also has a resource page with proposals and other information on curbing Medicare cost growth.

Kaiser Health News: Hospitals And Insurers Face Growing Antitrust Scrutiny
Kaiser Health News staff writer Julie Appleby, working in collaboration with The Washington Post, reports: "Amid growing concern about rising health care costs, the Department of Justice is stepping up efforts against hospitals and insurers it believes are illegally blocking competitors" (Appleby, 4/5).

Kaiser Health News: Insuring Your Health: Some Doctors Ask Patients To Sign 'Pain Contracts' To Get Prescriptions
In her latest Kaiser Health News consumer column, Michelle Andrews writes: "Chronic pain – the kind that lasts for months or recurs regularly – afflicts more than a quarter of adult Americans. Treating pain can be extremely challenging, however, in part because it can't be measured with instruments. It's in the eye – or neck or joint – of the beholder" (4/5).

The Wall Street Journal: Ryan's Plan For Medicare Is Huge Bet By GOP
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's proposal to fundamentally remake Medicare amounts to a giant gamble by House Republicans that the public is willing to accept major changes to some of the government's most popular programs in the shadow of trillion-dollar budget deficits (Weisman, 4/4).

The New York Times: GOP Blueprint Would Remake Health Policy
The proposal to be unveiled by House Republicans on Tuesday to rein in the long-term costs of Medicaid and Medicare represents a fundamental rethinking of how the two programs work, an ambitious effort by conservatives to address the nation’s fiscal challenges, and a huge political risk (Pear, 4/4).

The Washington Post: GOP 2012: Overhauls On Entitlements And Taxes, $6.2 Trillion In Cuts Over Decade
House Republicans plan to propose Tuesday historic changes to Medicare, Medicaid and other popular programs that pour federal money into Americans' lives, arguing that a sacrifice now will keep those programs solvent for the future (Rucker and Fahrenthold, 4/4).

Los Angeles Times: House Republicans To Propose $6.2 Trillion In Spending Cuts
The GOP proposal from Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, would cut spending below 2008 levels, while substantially changing the way Medicare and Medicaid are run. According to a Ryan aide who spoke Monday night, it aims to cut $4.4 trillion from federal deficits — four times the $1.1 trillion that Obama proposes (Mascaro, 4/5).

USA Today: House GOP Fiscal Plan Unveiled To Slice Off $4.4T
Federal health programs for seniors, the poor and people with disabilities would be slashed and transformed under a 2012 budget being unveiled today by House Republicans (Wolf, 4/5).

The Wall Street Journal: Congress Jousts As Budget Clock Ticks
Talks on fixing 2011 spending will heat up Tuesday when Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, introduces a GOP budget proposal for 2012 that would cut more than $5 trillion over 10 years, according to a House Republican aide. Mr. Ryan's proposal would overhaul the Medicare and Medicaid government health-care programs, saving $2.2 trillion from health care alone over the next decade, according to another person briefed on its provisions (Bendavid and Paletta, 4/5).

NPR: GOP Budget Plan Would Transform Medicare For People Under 55
With the federal deficit in their sights, Republicans are preparing a budget proposal that would reportedly trim $4 trillion in government spending over the next decade. How do they do it? Ending Medicare as we know it is a key part (Horsley, 4/4).

The Associated Press: Obama, Boehner To Talk Budget Cuts At White House
Negotiations have stalled on legislation blending immediate spending cuts with the money required to run federal agencies through the end of September. Democrats are accusing the GOP of pressing harmful spending cuts and attaching a social policy agenda to the must-pass spending bill. House Speaker John Boehner counters that the White House is pressing gimmicky budget cuts (Taylor, 4/5).

The Washington Post: Senate To Hold Final Vote Tuesday On Repealing Health Care Law's Unpopular 1099 Provision
Both the Senate and the House have already voted this year to repeal one of the most unpopular provisions of the national health care law. But this week, if things go according to plan, the Senate will hold a second (and final) vote on the issue, sending President Obama the first measure officially repealing part of his signature health care legislation (Sonmez, 4/4).

The Associated Press: Senate To Vote To Repeal Small Part Of Health Law
Congress is poised to send the White House its first rollback of last year's health care law, a bipartisan repeal of a burdensome tax reporting requirement that's widely unpopular with businesses. Even President Barack Obama is eager to see it gone (Ohlemacher, 4/5).

Politico: Lone Star Reform Hinges On Gov. Rick Perry
Everything is bigger in Texas — the challenges for implementing the federal health reform law included. POLITICO interviews with Texas legislators and lobbyists indicate that Gov. Rick Perry is unlikely to take the steps necessary to implement the insurance exchange required under the federal health reform law, which means the task will probably be left to the Obama administration (Kliff, 4/5).

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