Medicare Eyed As Part Of 'Grand Bargain'

Groups are planning how to fight cuts to Medicare and other health care programs which might be targeted as part of a debt deal.

The Associated Press: Highlights Of 'Fiscal Cliff' Taxes And Cuts
The so-called fiscal cliff is an economy-rattling combination of expiring Bush- and Obama-era tax cuts and major across-the-board spending cuts to the Pentagon and domestic programs. ... The fiscal cliff includes:
... A $55 billion, 9 percent cut in the defense budget next year and another $55 billion in cuts to domestic programs, including a 2 percent cut to Medicare providers (11/10).

Los Angeles Times: Coalition Pushes New Proposal To Avoid Medicare, Medicaid Cuts
With President Obama and congressional Republicans turning to address the looming budget crisis, a coalition of consumer groups, labor unions and major employers is pushing new approaches to control federal health spending without cutting benefits for seniors and others who rely on Medicare and Medicaid. The plan, released Thursday by the National Coalition on Health Care, includes several potentially controversial proposals such as a new penny-per-ounce federal tax on sweetened beverages and tougher penalties on under-performing hospitals (Levey, 11/8).

CQ HealthBeat: Health Care Coalition Offers Options For Health Savings And Revenue Raisers
The National Coalition on Health Care said its plan to save $220 billion in government health spending and raise $276 billion in revenue also included more general "game changers" with the potential to cut spending across the board in the private sector as well. Coalition leaders characterized their ideas as ones that could help improve performance, reduce waste and increase value rather than just bluntly cutting payments to providers or beneficiaries (Norman, 11/8).

The Hill: Groups To Launch Campaign To Keep Federal Research Funding
A coalition of groups is launching a campaign to emphasize federal funding for medical research ahead of negotiations on the "fiscal cliff." Research!America and several dozen patient, industry and other health organizations have planned a week of advocacy starting Monday to convince lawmakers to "champion medical innovation." ... The automatic cuts would reduce budgets at federal health agencies by $3.8 billion unless Congress to stop them, according to Research!America (Vieback, 11/9).

The Associated Press: Labor: Tax The Rich, Don't Touch Safety Nets
Labor's massive voter turnout effort played a major role in helping President Barack Obama win Ohio, Nevada and Wisconsin, according to exit polls, and its leaders are now looking for a more liberal, pro-union agenda from the White House. ... Topping labor's wish list — for now — is a push to raise taxes on wealthy Americans and discouraging Obama from agreeing to any deal with Republicans over the looming "fiscal cliff" that cuts into Social Security and Medicare (Hanahel, 11/10).


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