President Obama Calls Summit on Medicare, Other Budget Issues
President Obama on Monday at the White House will host a "fiscal responsibility summit" as he begins a week in which he plans to address the federal budget, USA Today reports (Jackson, USA Today, 2/23).
During the summit, Obama will seek to address the longer-term fiscal issues posed by entitlement programs, such as Social Security and Medicare, the tax system and the budget process (Weisman/McKinnon, Wall Street Journal, 2/23).
The summit will include five sessions on specific issues, with White House Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag scheduled to lead a session on health care (Connolly/Montgomery, Washington Post, 2/21).
In addition, Obama next month plans to hold a separate summit on health care (Alonso-Zaldivar, AP/Boston Globe, 2/21).
According to the Washington Post, Obama "faces the long-term challenge of retirement and health programs that threaten to bankrupt the government years down the road, as well as the more immediate problem of deficits bloated by spending on the economy and financial system bailouts" (Montgomery/Connolly, Washington Post, 2/22).
Speech to Congress
Obama on Tuesday evening will address a joint session of Congress about the current state of the nation and discuss proposals for health care and other areas (Parsons, Los Angeles Times, 2/22).
According to the New York Daily News, Obama plans to "argue in favor of moving toward the goal of universal health care by expanding coverage for children and at-risk and out-of-work Americans" (Bazinet, New York Daily News, 2/23).
Obama does not plan to "announce significant new policies ... but intends to explain how his agenda can advance despite the deepening recession and monumental budget deficit," with the speech "heavily weighted toward domestic priorities and the economy," the New York Times reports (Zeleny, New York Times, 2/23).
In addition, he likely will not announce plans to "deal with long-crumbling entitlement programs," the AP/Globe reports (Elliott, AP/Boston Globe, 2/23).
'Down Payment' on Health Care
On Thursday, Obama will release an outline of his fiscal year 2010 budget proposal, which will include efforts to reduce the budget deficit (USA Today, 2/23). Obama will release full details of his budget proposal in April (Calmes, New York Times, 2/22).
"While some people have predicted that Mr. Obama would have to shelve his priorities given rising deficits, his determination to proceed, especially on health care, reflects his economic advisers' conviction that the government cannot control its finances without reforming health care," the New York Times reports (New York Times, 2/22).
An Obama administration official said, "The budget will kick off or facilitate a focus on getting health care done this year" (Washington Post, 2/22).
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the budget proposal likely will include a "down payment on health care reform" (Fitzgerald, Philadelphia Inquirer, 2/22).
The budget proposal is "expected to take steps toward his campaign promises of establishing universal health care" (Sidoti, AP/Boston Globe, 2/21).
In his budget proposal, Obama "will suggest ... that expanding health coverage to the more than 46 million uninsured can be done without adding to the deficit, both by making cost-saving changes in the delivery of care and by raising revenues," the New York Times reports (New York Times, 2/22).
The budget proposal likely will seek to reduce certain spending for health care, a move that might provide funds for later efforts on broader reform (Los Angeles Times, 2/22).
The reductions in spending likely will target extra reimbursements for private health insurers that operate Medicare Advantage plans.Administration officials and outside experts said that "the most likely path to revamping the health system is to begin with Medicare ... and Medicaid," as "policy changes in those programs -- such as rewarding physicians who computerize their medical records or paying doctors for results rather than procedures -- could improve care while generating long-term savings," the Post reports (Washington Post, 2/22). 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.