Hearings And Analyses Frame Capitol Hill Budget Fight Over Medicare, Deficit

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are tussling over budget proposals that would change Medicare and/or reduce the budget deficit.

The Hill: Ways And Means Wades Into Controversial Medicare Proposals
The House Ways and Means Committee’s health panel will hold a hearing next week on proposals to at least partially privatize Medicare -- proposals that landed with a thud just a year ago. Democrats have hammered the Medicare plans championed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), and his budget outline last year helped bolster Democrats’ hopes of winning back the House majority. Establishment Republicans were also wary of the idea last year, warning against moving forward with Ryan’s plan (Baker, 4/20).

The Hill: Analysis Says Ryan Plan Would Have Cost States $500 Billion Over Past Decade
States would have lost more than $500 billion over the past decade if Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) proposed Medicaid cuts had been in place, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said Friday. ... CBPP tried to demonstrate the magnitude of Ryan’s proposal by calculating how much money states would have lost if Ryan’s proposal had taken effect in 2001. The hypothetical provides 10 years of real spending data, rather than estimates (Baker, 4/20).

Modern Healthcare: Dueling Budget Plans
Democratic and Republican lawmakers laid out conflicting long-term markers for health care spending on Capitol Hill last week as policymakers continue to battle over the federal deficit and government spending. Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, offered a draft budget that was largely based on the deficit-reduction commission appointed by President Barack Obama. The measure was significant as the first Senate Democratic budget in four years (Daly and Zigmond, 4/21).

Meanwhile, ob-gyns are making their mark on Congress while a postal reform bill could boost health premiums for some federal workers --

Politico: Ob-Gyns Aim To Deliver On The Hill
They rush to meetings, deal with crying babies, talk about contraception and fall behind on their schedules. It's the daily schedule for a typical obstetrician and gynecologist, but also for the lawmakers who were ob-gyns before they ditched their white coats for pinstriped suits and became some of the most conservative and outspoken members of Congress (Nocera, 4/22).

The Hill: Postal Bill Could Bring Hike In Health Premiums For Federal Workers
Thousands of federal workers could see a double-digit jump in their health care premiums under a postal reform bill that is moving through the Senate. The bill would change the way postal workers get their health benefits and could have a ripple effect across the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), which provides coverage for the federal workforce. The postal bill would lead to premium hikes of at least 10 percent in three of the largest plans in the entire FEHBP, according to an estimate that the Office of Personnel Management that was provided to congressional aides (Baker, 4/20).

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