Debt-Limit Bill Fails in House; GOP Lawmakers To Meet With President
All 236 Republicans and 82 Democrats -- including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) -- opposed the bill (Sherman, Politico, 5/31).
Republican leaders said theÂ debt-limit increase proposal was intended to show that spending cuts -- particularly to entitlement programs -- are necessary to increase the federal government's borrowing power (California Healthline, 5/13).
Obama Poised To Enter Debt Debate
The failed vote came one day before the entire House Republican conference is scheduled to meet with President Obama to discuss a range of economic issues, including the federal debt and deficit, Roll Call reports. Obama will host a similar meeting with House Democrats on Thursday (Palmer, Roll Call, 5/31).
On Tuesday, Hoyer warned the administration not to reach a deal with Republicans without input from Democrats (Politico, 5/31). According to the Washington Post, Democrats are concerned that a deal between Republicans and the White House to cut Medicare spending could hinder the momentum they have gained over the issue in recent weeks (Montgomery/Kane, Washington Post, 5/31).
Last week, Rep. Kathy Hochul (D) scored an upset victory over a Republican challenger in a predominately conservative district in western New York. Many experts attributed the win to Hochul's opponent's support of a Medicare overhaul proposal included in the House-approved GOP fiscal year 2012 budget resolution (H Con Res 34). The proposal would change Medicare from a fee-for-service program to one that provides vouchers to beneficiaries to purchase coverage on the private market.
Observers said the election was a referendum on the Medicare reform plan and a warning from seniors that Republicans should avoid making cuts to popular entitlement programs. After the victory, Democratic leaders said they would continue to attack the GOP over its Medicare proposal (California Healthline, 5/25).
More Than 150 Economists Back GOP on Spending Cuts, Debt Limit
On Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) released a letter signed by more than 150 economists that expressed support for the GOP's calls for significant spending cuts to address the nation's debt and deficit problems, Roll Call reports.
The group of economists, which includes two former Congressional Budget Office directors and a Nobel Prize winner, wrote, "It is critical that any debt limit legislation enacted by Congress include spending cuts and reforms that are greater than the accompanying increase in debt authority being granted to the president" (Palmer, Roll Call, 6/1).
Last month, Boehner and House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) made similar assertions that federal government would not be able to resolve the two pressing fiscal issues without addressing the high costs of health care over the long term (California Healthline, 5/17).
Analysis: Republican States To Lose the Most Under GOP Medicaid Reform Plan
Republican-controlled states would lose more federal Medicaid funding under a House proposal to change the program into a block-grant system, according to a new analysis by Avalere Health, National Journal reports (McCarthy, National Journal, 5/31). The proposal -- included in the GOP's FY 2012 budget resolution -- would provide states with fixed, annual block grants of $11,000 per beneficiary to use as they choose (California Healthline, 5/12).
According to Avalere, the proposal ties Medicaid spending to a formula that would pay states on a per capita basis, meaning that the usually liberal-leaning states that are providing coverage to more people beyond the required Medicaid population would receive more money from the federal government.
Dan Mendelson, Avalere's CEO, said, "States that have previously expanded their Medicaid population get to lock in those people," adding, "Some of the hardest hit might be those big, red states" (National Journal, 5/31).ÂThis is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.