During a Friday news conference on the national budget sequester, President Obama said that some Democrats will not touch the health care entitlement program for older Americans and those with disabilities.
“And what I’ve said … is that I’m prepared to take on the problem where it exists, on entitlements, and do some things that my own party really doesn’t like, if it’s part of a broader package of sensible deficit reduction,” the President said, adding, “I am prepared to do hard things and to push my Democratic friends to do hard things.”
Is President Obama actually willing to take on members of his own party to reform Medicare, the program that is at the center of the nation’s long-term fiscal stability debate because of its great expense?
Meanwhile, House Republicans said they plan to seek a repeal of the “sustainable growth rate” (SGR). SGR is the metric used to calculate Medicare payments to physicians. Republicans want to replace it with a statutorily-defined payment system that is more predictable. At the same time they want to reform the program’s fee-for-service payment model to reward physicians for quality care, not volume of patients seen.
March is sure to be an interesting month on the nation’s budget battleground, with Medicare and Medicaid in the cross hairs on both sides.