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Thread: 2007 Federal Budget Battles

  1. #1

    2007 Federal Budget Battles

    Everybody is already girding their loins for the budget battle that will occur when the President unveils his 2007 budget on Monday. A $2.7 trillion behemoth that contains huge increases in defense spending, the budget is notable for several major cuts. Medicare is one that will be controversial. The following New York Times article summarizes the cuts of Medicare. It is important to emphasize that Bush's budget is actually following the recommendations of an independent bipartisan federal panel that recommended the changes. Particularly relevant to the spinal cord injury community is a freeze of payments to nursing homes and home health agencies, programs for oxygen supply to patients at home, increases in premiums for people earning more than $80,000 per year and doubling of premiums for people earning $100,000-$150,000. The program does not cut doctor payments by Medicare because that was already done last year.

    Bush to Propose Curbing Growth in Medicare Cost

    Published: February 4, 2006

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 3 — In his budget next week, President Bush will propose substantial savings in Medicare, stepping up his efforts to rein in the growing costs of social insurance programs, administration officials and health care lobbyists said Friday.

    For the first time since taking office five years ago, they said, Mr. Bush will try to reduce projected Medicare payments to hospitals and other health care providers by billions of dollars over the next five years. In addition, they said, Mr. Bush intends to seek further increases in Medicare premiums for high-income people, beyond those already scheduled to take effect next year.

    Despite the failure of his plan to overhaul Social Security last year, Mr. Bush has signaled that he intends to curb rapid increases in federal spending linked to the aging of the population. "The retirement of the baby boom generation will put unprecedented strains on the federal government," Mr. Bush said in his State of the Union address on Tuesday.

    Administration officials, Congressional aides and lobbyists said the president was contemplating a package of proposals that would cut the projected growth in Medicare spending by $30 billion to $35 billion in the next five years. That represents less than 1.5 percent of total Medicare spending in those years. But whether Congress has the appetite to trim popular benefit programs in an election year is unclear.

    The House passed another deficit-reduction bill this week by just two votes, underscoring the qualms among moderate Republicans about how far to go in limiting the growth of domestic programs at a time when the administration continues to push tax cuts.


    The president's 2007 budget also calls for a freeze in Medicare payments to nursing homes and home health agencies, as recommended by the commission. In addition, he proposes to reduce payments for oxygen equipment provided to Medicare beneficiaries.


    Under the 2003 Medicare law, any beneficiary with more than $80,000 of annual income will have to pay higher premiums in 2007 and later years. For people with incomes of $100,000 to $150,000, premiums would more than double.


    Last edited by Wise Young; 02-06-2006 at 06:04 AM.

  2. #2

    2007 Budget Favors Defense

    2007 Budget Favors Defense
    Medicare Takes Biggest Hit in $2.7 Trillion Plan

    By Amy Goldstein
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Sunday, February 5, 2006; Page A01

    President Bush plans to propose a $2.7 trillion budget tomorrow that would shrink most parts of the government unrelated to the nation's security while slowing spending on Medicare by $36 billion during the next five years, according to White House documents.

    The spending plan Bush is to recommend to Congress will call for the elimination or reduction of 141 programs -- for a savings of $14.5 billion -- across a broad swath of federal agencies, according to administration and congressional officials who have had access to budget documents in advance. Wide-ranging as they are, those cuts pale in comparison with the White House's attempt to carve money from Medicare -- the first tangible result from a vow the president made in his State of the Union address last week to constrain the massive entitlement programs for the elderly and the poor.

    Overall, the budget for the 2007 fiscal year would further reshape the government in the way the administration has been striving to during the past half-decade: building up military capacity and defenses against terrorist threats on U.S. soil, while restraining expenditures on many domestic areas, from education programs to train service.

    For the second consecutive year, the White House will ask for an outright reduction in the "discretionary" part of the budget -- the portion that is determined year to year -- apart from the Pentagon and homeland security. According to one congressional source, White House officials plan to emphasize their frugality in discretionary spending, as they propose to cut it more deeply than Congress just did in the budget for the current fiscal year that was approved last week.


  3. #3

    In Bush's Budget Plan, Shifting Priorities

    In Bush's Budget Plan, Shifting Priorities

    Article Tools Sponsored By
    Published: February 5, 2006

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 — President Bush wants to spend more on bird flu and the physical sciences next year, but would freeze the budget of the National Institutes of Health and would slightly cut federal support for research on cancer and heart disease, two of the leading killers of Americans, budget documents show.

    The president's budget, to be unveiled on Monday, shows the hard choices facing Congress and the nation as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue and Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security take up a growing share of the federal dollar.

    Mr. Bush is requesting a second installment of money to protect the nation against the threat of pandemic influenza: $2.65 billion in 2007, on top of the $3.3 billion that Congress provided for this year.

    Budget documents from the Department of Health and Human Services say Mr. Bush would use the new money to buy flu vaccine for every person in the United States and to provide antiviral drugs to one-fourth of the population in an emergency. Health officials see the disease, first reported in Asia, as a serious threat. The World Health Organization says that 161 people have been infected and that 86 of them have died.

    Mr. Bush's budget follows up a commitment in his State of the Union address to double spending on basic research in the physical sciences over 10 years as a way to "keep America competitive."

    The president will request $6 billion for the National Science Foundation in 2007, an increase of 7.8 percent over this year's level, and is seeking $4.1 billion for the science office at the Energy Department, an increase of 14 percent, according to budget documents.

    The science foundation, an engine of high-tech innovation, supports the work of many mathematicians, physicists, chemists, engineers, computer scientists and biologists.

    Patrick White, director of federal relations for the Association of American Universities, which represents 60 large research universities, said, "We are very pleased to see what the Bush administration is doing for the physical sciences."


  4. #4
    Super Moderator Sue Pendleton's Avatar
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    Jul 2001
    Wisconsin USA
    Quote Originally Posted by Wise Young
    Particularly relevant to the spinal cord injury community is a freeze of payments to nursing homes and home health agencies, programs for oxygen supply to patients at home, increases in premiums for people earning more than $80,000 per year and doubling of premiums for people earning $100,000-$150,000. The program does not cut doctor payments by Medicare because that was already done last year.

    This explains 2 bills going through the Maryland Assembly right now. It's to cover the federal budget cutting into paychecks for more Medicare taxes. I wondered why the amount listed was so high per family, $150,000.
    Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

    Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.

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