Obama’s Budget Likely Will Not Include Major Changes to Entitlements
President Obama on Monday is expected to unveil his budget proposal, and it is unlikely that it will call for major changes to entitlement programs, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Parts of the proposal are expected to be similar to Obama's deficit-reduction plan released in September 2011, which proposed reducing spending in Medicare and Medicaid by almost $320 billion over 10 years through changes to the programs, such as increasing premiums for high-income beneficiaries.
Last year, Obama expressed interest in a proposal that would raise the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 66. In addition, both parties last year showed a willingness to reform entitlement programs, but the proposals did not gain traction.
Obama likely will stay away from controversial changes to the programs now that the presidential election is nearing and retaining support from elderly residents is vital, according to the Journal.
Experts Warn Entitlement Spending Must Be Curbed Soon
Budget experts warn that growth in entitlement spending must be curbed in the near future, the Journal reports.
Entitlement spending in 2011 accounted for about 43% of the federal budget, and without changes, that number could reach 54% in 2022, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Discussing Medicare and Medicaid in Congress on Tuesday, Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke said, "Although we have been warned about such developments for many years, the time when projections become reality is coming closer" (Paletta, Wall Street Journal, 2/10).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.