President Obama may offer tens of billions in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid as part of a deal to close the deficit and raise the debt limit, according to The New York Times.
The newspaper quotes White House officials as saying the president would be willing to make $340 billion in cuts to the entitlement programs over 10 years as long as Republicans agree to revenue increases. Administration officials and Republicans say the cuts would come from hospitals and nursing facilities and wouldn't directly add costs to beneficiaries or completely overhaul the programs.
Talks between the White House and Republicans came to a halt two weeks ago, even though they agreed to make cuts on Medicare and Medicaid. In a news conference last week, Obama said the administration needs to “see where we can reduce the cost of health care spending and Medicare and Medicaid in the out years.”
The White House proposed $600 billion in revenue increases last week -- a substantially different plan than the one introduced by Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., which would cut $600 billion from Medicare over a decade by raising the eligibility age from 65 to 67 and increasing premiums for those with higher incomes.
Potential cuts include gradually eliminating Medicare payments to hospitals for debt incurred when beneficiaries don’t pay deductibles or co-payments; reducing Medicare payments to teaching hospitals; and reducing the federal share of payments to providers treating patients under Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Plan.
Lawmakers have to strike a budget deal by July 22. The United States faces a default on its debts on August 2.