Obama Links Medicare, Medicaid Cuts To New Revenue

And on Capitol Hill, some Senate Democrats – mulling whether to take President Obama's challenge to stay in Washington and work on the debt ceiling negotiations – could offer a fiscal blueprint of their own.

MSNBC (Video): Obama To Congress On Debt Talks: 'Get It Done'
In a blunt challenge to Republicans in Congress, President Barack Obama insisted Wednesday that elimination of selected tax breaks for oil companies and the super-wealthy must be included in any deficit reduction plan…The budget deficit is projected to reach a record $1.4 trillion for the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. Republicans in Congress have been insistent in recent days that any deficit reduction be limited to spending cuts, including reductions in benefit programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, and exclude additional revenues (6/30).

The Fiscal Times: Obama Chastises GOP over Taxes, Debt Deadlock
A defiant President Obama insisted on Wednesday that any major deficit reduction package include increased tax revenue as well as substantial cuts in government programs – posing a direct challenge to congressional Republican leaders who have vowed to oppose any deal that includes a tax increase (Pianin and Hirsch, 6/29).

Kaiser Health News: Obama Talks Medicare And Debt Limit In Press Conference (Video Excerpts)
President Obama on Wednesday said corporations should give up some tax breaks before the United States asks seniors to pay more for their Medicare benefits. But, Obama also opened the door to make changes and spending reductions to Medicare (6/29). Read a related blog post by Marilyn Werber Serafini on Capsules.

Politico Pro: Obama: Medicare, Medicaid Cuts In Out Years
President Barack Obama, in his most public comments yet on the state of deficit reduction talks, strongly linked spending cuts in Medicare and Medicaid to new revenues — a hardline that has so far led to an impasse between Republicans and Democrats at the negotiation table. "I've been willing to say, we need to see where we can reduce the cost of health care spending in Medicare and Medicaid in the out years, not shifting costs onto seniors as some have proposed," Obama said during a rare midday White House press conference. "But even if we're doing it in a smart way, that's still tough politics. But it's the right thing to do" (Dobias, 6/29).

Roll Call: Conrad Says Democrats Have A Budget Deal
Democrats have been under pressure for months from Republicans for failing to bring a budget to the floor amid the largest deficits in the nation's history. However, Senate Democrats have been loathe to vote on their own budget, given that it was highly unlikely to pass the House and was certain to subject them to almost limitless Republican political amendment votes. Instead, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in May brought up a controversial House-passed budget blueprint that calls for Medicare to be changed into a subsidy for private insurance. That effort failed, but Reid succeeded in getting Senate Republicans on the record as for or against that plan (Dennis, 6/29).

Politico Pro: Conrad Plots Release Of His Own Budget Plan
As top Senate Democrats mulled whether to stay in Washington next week to continue deficit reduction talks, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said his committee would release its own fiscal blueprint in the coming days, a move that could add another layer of concern for the health care industry. "If we're in session next week, it would be my intention to unveil that plan next week," Conrad told reporters after he emerged from a hastily called meeting among Senate Democrats (Dobias, 6/30). 

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