California Healthline Daily Edition

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

President To Criticize Ryan’s GOP Budget Plan as ‘Social Darwinism’

On Tuesday, President Obama is expected to criticize House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) fiscal year 2013 budget proposal, which would repeal the federal health reform law and alter Medicaid and Medicare, the Washington Post's "44" reports.

At a speech to the American Society of News Editors, Obama will say, "Disguised as a deficit reduction plan, it's really an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country," according to remarks released by the White House. He will add, "It's nothing but thinly-veiled social Darwinism. It's a prescription for decline."

About Ryan's Plan

Ryan's budget plan, which passed the House last week, would reduce the federal deficit by $5.3 trillion over the next decade through a combination of spending cuts and tax increases (Nakamura, "44," Washington Post, 4/3). It would transform Medicare from a fee-for-service program to one in which beneficiaries would purchase coverage on the private market and maintain traditional Medicare as an option.

The proposal also would reduce Medicaid spending and convert the program to a block-grant system, in which states would receive a fixed amount to run it (California Healthline, 3/30).

Administration's Comments

White House officials last week criticized the proposal, saying that the GOP "banded together to shower millionaires and billionaires with a massive tax cut paid for by ending Medicare as we know it."

However, Tuesday's comments will be the first time Obama has commented publicly on the GOP budget plan (Easley/Parnes, "Blog Briefing Room," The Hill, 4/2).

Ryan Camp Responds

Ryan spokesperson Conor Sweeney countered that Obama is refusing to "honestly confront" what Ryan says is a "predictable" economic crisis that will "erupt" with the increasing federal debt, CQ Today reports.

Sweeney added, "Instead, he has accelerated the nation toward this looming debt-fueled crisis with reckless budgets, always accompanied by partisan speeches that seek to divide the nation in order to distract from his legacy of broken promises" (Krawzak, CQ Today, 4/3).

Democrats, Unions Plan Attacks on Republicans Who Supported Ryan Plan

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Americans United for Change and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees are targeting Republicans who endorsed Ryan's budget plan in a series of TV advertisements that will air throughout the election season, The Hill's "Ballot Box" reports.

The ads will target Ryan, as well as Republican freshman in senior-heavy districts in the Upper Midwest. In a series of radio ads, the DCCC will target more Republicans in potentially vulnerable seats. Democrats believe the ads will appeal to older swing voters who might not align with Republicans on Medicare (Joseph, "Ballot Box," The Hill, 4/2).

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