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Oct 12, 2011

U.S. deficit panel weighs Medicare doctor payments

WASHINGTON, Oct 12 (Reuters) – The congressional “super
committee” charged with reducing U.S. budget deficits is
considering tackling a measure that could make their job even
harder by preventing a steep pay cut for Medicare doctors.

The bipartisan panel that has been tasked with finding at
least $1.2 trillion in budget savings over 10 years has a
“strong interest” in taking up the doctor payment issue,
sources familiar with panel discussions said on Wednesday.

Oct 10, 2011

Limits on supplemental U.S. Medicare plans eyed

WASHINGTON, Oct 10 (Reuters) – Medicare supplemental health
plans, popular among politically powerful retirees, could come
under the budget knife being wielded by the special
deficit-reduction panel of the U.S. Congress, according to
sources keeping close watch on its work.

The so-called “Medigap” insurance plans shield the elderly
– many living on fixed incomes — from costly deductibles and
other expenses not covered by the traditional fee-for-service
Medicare healthcare program.

Oct 4, 2011

Exclusive: budget talks get down to taxes, benefits

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Deficit-reduction talks in the Congress entered a potentially groundbreaking phase on Tuesday with Republicans signaling they could consider some revenue increases in exchange for Democrats embracing healthcare cuts, sources familiar with the discussions said.

“Nearly all the Republican members on the super committee I have spoken to, and frankly the party leaders, have left the door open to revenues,” a source with knowledge of the talks told Reuters.

Sep 28, 2011

US debt panel eyes dual Medicare/Medicaid patients

WASHINGTON, Sept 28 (Reuters) – Government health benefits
for some 9 million of the sickest and poorest U.S. citizens
will come under scrutiny from the congressional “super
committee” seeking to cut the nation’s debt.

These are Americans who qualify for both the Medicare and
Medicaid programs for the elderly and the poor, based on their
disability, age and low income.

Sep 27, 2011

Ryan targets U.S. employee healthcare tax breaks

Sept 27 (Reuters) – Republican Representative Paul Ryan, an
outspoken opponent of President Barack Obama’s healthcare
reform, proposed a plan on Tuesday that could effectively
dismantle the way most Americans get health insurance by
reducing incentives to join employer-sponsored plans.

In a speech at Stanford University in California, Ryan said
the government should replace the income tax exclusion for
people who get employer-sponsored healthcare and replace it
with a refundable tax credit that they could use to purchase
coverage on their own. Some 170 million Americans are now
covered through the workplace.

Sep 27, 2011

Ryan targets employer healthcare tax breaks

By Donna Smith

(Reuters) – Republican Representative Paul Ryan, an outspoken opponent of President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform, proposed a plan on Tuesday that would effectively dismantle the way most Americans get healthcare by getting rid of employers’ incentives to offer insurance.

In a speech at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution in California, Ryan said the government should eliminate tax breaks to companies for providing health benefits.

Sep 23, 2011

Disaster aid hits brick wall in Congress

WASHINGTON, Sept 23 (Reuters) – With aid to disaster
victims running out, the U.S. Congress on Friday ratcheted up a
high-stakes confrontation over spending that once again
threatens the government’s ability to function smoothly.

By a vote of 59 to 36, the Democratic-controlled Senate
rejected a broad spending bill that had passed the
Republican-controlled House of Representative hours earlier.

Sep 22, 2011

“Super committee” eyes taxes amid differences

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The leaders of a congressional “super committee” squared off on Thursday over the hot-button issue of tax increases and how new revenues might fit into the panel’s deficit reduction proposals.

Democratic co-chair Senator Patty Murray, at the start of the committee’s hearing on the roughly $1 trillion in special interest breaks and loopholes that permeate the U.S. tax code, made clear she expects the panel to include some tax increases along with spending cuts in its final product.

Sep 22, 2011

U.S. ‘super committee’ eyes taxes amid differences

WASHINGTON, Sept 22 (Reuters) – The leaders of a
congressional “super committee” squared off on Thursday over
the hot-button issue of tax increases and how new revenues
might fit into the panel’s deficit reduction proposals.

Democratic co-chair Senator Patty Murray, at the start of
the committee’s hearing on the roughly $1 trillion in special
interest breaks and loopholes that permeate the U.S. tax code,
made clear she expects the panel to include some tax increases
along with spending cuts in its final product.

Sep 20, 2011

U.S. budget panel hears competing ideas

WASHINGTON, Sept 20 (Reuters) – The 12 members of a
congressional “super committee” laid out competing visions on
Tuesday for how to solve the country’s budget ills during the
panel’s first negotiating session.

“Different members have their ideas of what success looks
like. Part of the exchange today was fleshing out some of those
opinions,” Republican co-chairman Jeb Hensarling told Reuters
in an interview following the three-hour meeting.

    • About Donna

      "Washington congressional correspondent specializing in economics, taxes and budget issues. Covered the healthcare reform legislation and President George W. Bush's push to overhaul Social Security. Also covered the savings and loan crisis and spent time covering the White House during President Bill Clinton's administration. Covered trade and Federal Reserve policy as well."
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