Efforts Toward Common Ground On Budget Still Marked By Differences

The Associated Press reports that, across party lines, positions on new revenue as well as changes to Medicare and other entitlement programs are clouding the outlook for success. Meanwhile, The Medicare NewsGroup examines how certain Medicare proposals are playing.

The Associated Press/Washington Post: For GOP And Democrats, Deficit Reduction Is More Talk Than Action As Neither Side Compromises
For years, House Republicans have adamantly refused to raise income taxes, even though U.S. taxes are historically low, and the Bush-era tax cuts were a major cause of the current deficit. And now, top Democrats are staunchly opposing changes to Medicare and Social Security benefits, despite studies showing the programs' financial paths are unsustainable. Unless something gives, it's hard to see what will produce the significant compromises needed to tame the federal debt, which is nearing $17 trillion (4/25).

The Medicare NewsGroup: Is Offering A Medicare Buy-In – While Raising The Eligibility Age – A Bridge To A Reform Deal?
To those watching and participating in the Medicare reform debate, raising the Medicare eligibility age is the devil they know. On the one hand, there are plenty of estimates on how much ratcheting the age from 65 to 67 will save: as much as $148 billion over 10 years. What these estimates don’t take into the account are the collateral costs. Those who don't qualify for Medicare will either need to buy a private plan, which can cost more than $2,000 annually, or hope that their employer covers them until they qualify for Medicare (Wasik, 4/24).

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