While GOP Pledges Austerity, Democrats Hesitant To Revamp Medicare, Medicaid

Health care continues to play a major role this political season. News outlets look at the parties' differences on spending, Sen. Baucus' early reelection calculations and a protest against Rep. Steve King.

The Fiscal Times: GOP Bets On Austerity To Lead Them To Victory
The Obama administration and Democratic congressional leaders have repeatedly called for a "balanced" approach to economic expansion and deficit reduction -- including targeted stimulus spending, overall government belt tightening and an increase in taxes on the wealthiest Americans -- to help contain the deficit in the coming decade.  While Democrats say they are open to discussing changes in Medicare, Medicaid and other entitlement programs for the elderly and poor, they are highly critical of anything that would alter the fundamental structure of the costly health care programs (Pianin, 5/24).

Politico: Baucus Faces The Biggest Campaigns Of His Career
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus is about to launch two of the most daunting campaigns of his political career at once: first, to rewrite the U.S. Tax Code, then to win reelection in 2014 after having shepherded the controversial Democratic health care law to passage. ... The 70-year-old Baucus appears to be taking little for granted. ... Baucus sidestepped a fight over health care by punting on a confirmation hearing for Marilyn Tavenner, a nominee to head the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which he said was unnecessary because of her lack of support (Raju and Bresnahan, 5/24).

National Journal: Nurses Endorse Obama
The American Nurses Association endorsed President Obama on Thursday. The group said the 2010 health reform law was the deciding factor. "Increasing access to care and transforming the American health care system from one that focuses on illness care to a system that emphasizes prevention, wellness, and care coordination have been ANA's priorities for more than two decades.  ANA remains committed to supporting President Obama's efforts to fully implement and fund the Affordable Care Act," ANA President Karen Daley said in a statement (5/24).

Des Moines Register: Man Calls Steve King A 'Professional Liar,' Is Removed From Event
A man who called Steve King a liar, homophobe and xenophobe at an event in Mason City today was escorted from the event by police. King, a U.S. Representative from western Iowa being challenged by Democrat Christie Vilsack, has consistently criticized federal health care reform for the past two years. He recently said it will result in fewer people being insured, which health care advocates say is inaccurate (Clayworth, 5/22).

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