WASHINGTON (April 14, 2011) — The battle lines of healthcare's role in debt reduction clarified April 12 as moderate Democrats in the Senate officially rejected a House Republican debt reduction plan.
On the eve of President Barack Obama introducing his own debt reduction plan, Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) introduced a resolution blasting the House Republican approach authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and introduced last week.
“The House proposal takes a slash-and-burn approach that leaves seniors paying more for less,” Sen. Baucus said in a written statement.
Instead, his resolution called for “lowering healthcare costs through delivery system reforms.”
Obama administration officials took similar swipes at the Ryan plan, including Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius describing it April 12 as “not cutting anything” but instead “shifting costs onto somebody else.”
The president briefed congressional leaders of both parties on his plan April 13 morning before outlining it for the public in an afternoon speech at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Until President Obama revealed his approach yesterday to debt reduction, the highest-profile bipartisan plan was proposed by his National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform in November. That plan, which would achieve $4 trillion in debt reduction by 2020, included several cuts to Medicare and Medicaid and was never fully embraced by President Obama.
Representatives of the American Hospital Association confirmed April 12 that they maintain the same concerns with the debt commission's approach to overhauling the healthcare programs that they outlined last year. Those concerns included the commission's recommendation to cut federal funding for graduate medical education.
This report appeared in Modern Healthcare magazine, a Chicago-based sister publication of Tire Business.