President Wants To Shift Costs To Seniors?
"President Obama’s newest proposal for reducing the federal deficit would slice Medicare reimbursements to drug-makers, nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, home health services and teaching hospitals." "By and large, these recommendations make sense, and could help throw a spotlight on excesses in Medicare spending. But I very much doubt that either Congress or the Super Committee charged with addressing the deficit will embrace the president’s proposals in these areas."
"The lobbies that represent drug-makers, our most prestigious academic medical centers, and three health care industries that have been taken over by for-profit companies (skilled nursing facilities, rehab centers, and home health service agencies) can write the checks that help swing elections."
Maggie Mahar of The Century Foundation has an extensive analysis of Medicare and the President’s Deficit Reduction Plan. This is another longer piece that deserves your attention. You may have to take it in smaller bites, but it's worthwhile. If you set it aside, be sure to go back later.
Joint Committee Not Committed to Openness
"Throughout the day on Tuesday, a smattering of political reporters leaned up against walls in the basement of the Capitol Visitors Center. Inside room HVC200, the 12-member supercommittee, tasked with reshaping the nation's tax code, social safety net and approach to war, was meeting in secret." "Of the six significant meetings the Super Congress has held, only two have been public -- one to allow members to read prepared opening statements."
"After public pressure that the panel meet in public, its rules were written to say that the meetings 'shall be open to the public and the media unless the Joint Select Committee, in open session and a quorum being present, determines by majority vote that such hearing or meeting shall be held in closed session.'"
I check their Web site daily to see what is going on. This secrecy is not surprising given the difficulty of their work. Even the Founding Fathers met in secret and swore silence during deliberations. However, this Committee has broken its own rules. What would have been the harm in holding to their rules and voting to meet behind closed doors? We find out anyway that they are meeting. Beyond that, some think their work is irrelevant anyway. Beyond even that, some hope for non-agreement believing that pre-paid public benefits will be better off under the no action scenario.
Joint Committee Negotiations
"Democrats on the new deficit Super Committee are determined to be better negotiators than their predecessors in earlier deficit discussions leading up to the debt limit fight. According to aides with knowledge of the discussions, they're trying to keep the panel's early focus on revenues, to avoid falling into a familiar trap of agreeing to a bunch of spending cuts only to have Republicans freeze up when they try to change the conversation to taxes."
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