While there's certainly some pressure to get some kind of debt ceiling deal, does offering up Medicare as a human sacrifice seem like the smartest plan for a second term - especially when it's the same issue the Republicans rode to victory in the mid-terms?
WASHINGTON — Obama administration officials are offering to cut tens of billions of dollars from Medicare and Medicaid in negotiations to reduce the federal budget deficit, but the depth of the cuts depends on whether Republicans are willing to accept any increases in tax revenues.
Administration officials and Republican negotiators say the money can be taken from health care providers like hospitals and nursing homes without directly imposing new costs on needy beneficiaries or radically restructuring either program.
Before the talks led by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. broke off 12 days ago, negotiators said, they had reached substantial agreement on many cuts in the growth of Medicare, which provides care to people 65 and older, and Medicaid, which covers lower-income people. Those proposals are still on the table when Congress reconvenes this week, aides said, and are serious options that Democrats could accept in exchange for Republican concessions that raise revenues.
“Congress smells blood,” said William L. Minnix Jr., the chief lobbyist for nonprofit nursing homes.