Fiscal Cliff Talks Moving Slowly; Boehner Wants Health Law On The Table

Official portrait of United States House Speak...

Official portrait of United States House Speaker (R-Ohio). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Topics: Health Costs, Medicare, Medicaid, Politics, Health Reform

Nov 23, 2012

The New York Times: Seeking Ways To Raise Taxes But Leave Tax Rate As Is
The Congressional leaders had said that aides would provide concrete ideas by Wednesday on deficit reduction targets through revenue increases and changes to social programs, especially Medicare. White House and Congressional staff members did meet early this week, but no such ideas were produced. Democrats want Republicans to first define what they mean by “structural changes” to Medicare and Medicaid. Republicans say Mr. Obama should make the first move, using what they say is the political capital gained by his re-election (Weisman, 11/22).

The New York Times: Boehner’s Rearguard Guerrilla Action
No one thought it would be easy for President Obama and Republicans in Congress to negotiate a package of tax increases and spending cuts over the next few weeks. But now Speaker John Boehner is trying to make the process even harder. In an op-ed article for the Cincinnati Enquirer today, Mr. Boehner said that “we need to repeal Obamacare” because it adds to the debt and is unaffordable. As a result, he wrote, “the law has to stay on the table as both parties discuss ways to solve our nation’s massive debt challenge” (Firestone, 11/21).

The Hill: Boehner: ‘ObamaCare‘ Must Be On The Table In ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Negotiations
President Obama’s signature healthcare law has to be on the table for cuts as Congress tried to negotiate a deal to avoid the “fiscal cliff,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) wrote in an op-ed. “We can’t afford it, and we can’t afford to leave it intact,” Boehner wrote in the Cincinnati Enquirer. “That’s why I’ve been clear that the law has to stay on the table as both parties discuss ways to solve our nation’s massive debt challenge” (Baker, 11/21).

ABC News: Boehner Wants ‘Obamacare’ In Fiscal Cliff Negotiations
The Speaker argued that the President’s healthcare law is too expensive and that any serious deal to tackle the deficit should include talks of a full repeal. “If we’re serious about getting our economy moving again, solving our debt and restoring prosperity for American families, we need to repeal Obamacare and enact common-sense, step-by-step reforms that start with lowering the cost of health care,” said Boehner (Ono, 11/21).

The Washington Post: Polls Offer Little Guidance For Politicians Tackling ‘Fiscal Cliff’
On Tuesday, Fix the Debt, a new bipartisan campaign led by business leaders and former policymakers, released a poll taken just before the election in which 72 percent of likely voters said the deficit and federal debt would be extremely or very important in deciding their vote. More than 90 percent of likely voters agreed that a bipartisan agreement, with “everything on the table,” was needed to address the problem. But three major unions put out a survey that appeared to show exactly the opposite: People would prefer that politicians focus on job creation over cutting deficits, and they oppose cuts to Social Security, Medicare, education, and police and fire protection to address deficits (Helderman and Clement, 11/22).

The Washington Post: After Election Euphoria, Liberals Begin To Worry About The Political Fights To Come
The focus of their distress is none other than Obama, who many left-leaning Democrats fear will go too far in reaching an accord with Republicans on the “fiscal cliff.” Liberal groups are gearing up media campaigns aimed at pressuring Obama and congressional Democrats to hold the line on proposed GOP cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and other entitlement programs (Turque, 11/21).

Los Angeles Times: Obama For America Weighs In On ‘Fiscal Cliff,’ Hints At Future Role
Obama for America provided a hint Wednesday of what its post-campaign role may be, sending supporters an email promoting the president’s stance on the fiscal cliff and encouraging recipients to spread the White House’s message (Little, 11/21).

The Hill: Another Republican Lawmaker Ditches Norquist Tax Pledge
Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss (Ga.) on Wednesday said that addressing the nation’s looming “fiscal cliff” took precedence over honoring the anti-tax pledge he signed for conservative activist Grover Norquist. “I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge,” said Chambliss to local Georgia television station 13WMAZ. “If we do it his way then we’ll continue in debt, and I just have a disagreement with him about that” (Mali, 11/22).

This is part of Kaiser Health News’ Daily Report – a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day’s news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.


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