House GOP Plan Seeks Health Cuts to Balance Budget

By Andrew Taylor, Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) – House Republicans are pressing ahead with a slashing plan to try to balance the budget within 10 years, relying on big decreases in health care programs for the middle class and the poor, as well as tax increases and Medicare cuts engineered by President Obama. The GOP fiscal plan by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., promises $5.1 trillion in spending cuts – and unorthodox accounting incorporating the pro-growth effects of …

Obama Budget Proposal Targets Medicare Savings

As expected, President Obama’s budget proposal abandoned a call to change the way annual increases in Social Security benefits are calculated and continued a call for Medicare savings. Announced March 4, his plan, which goes next to Congress, would hit some Medicare providers, drug companies and higher-income Medicare beneficiaries as part of $402 billion in estimated health care savings over the next decade. Among the proposed changes for beneficiaries: Charge higher premiums for Parts B and D for higher-income people …

What the $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill Means for Older Americans

The $1.1 trillion bipartisan spending bill passed by Congress funds federal agencies through the rest of the fiscal year, eases the sharp budget cuts known as the sequester and ends the lingering threat of another government shutdown. It also affects a number of programs especially important to older Americans. Here’s how, according to an AARP analysis: Increases spending by $41 million on nutrition programs for older Americans, including Meals on Wheels. This replaces across-the-board spending cuts, called sequestration, that took hold …

What’s the Nation’s No. 1 Problem?

It’s the government, stupid. Bill Clinton won a presidential campaign with the motto, “It’s the economy, stupid.” But these days the top issue to most Americans is the government, according to a new Gallup poll.   Some 21 percent of Americans polled in the Jan. 5-8 survey said that the most important problem facing the country today is the government itself – including poor leadership, corruption, abuse of power and general dissatisfaction with Congress and politicians in general. The second most important …

6 Things to Watch in Congress

Members of Congress are back in Washington with an agenda full of items important to older Americans. Here’s a rundown: Debt ceiling and federal budget. Two deadlines loom here. The federal government will run out of borrowing authority if Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling by Feb. 7. Although Capitol Hill lawmakers negotiated a budget deal in December that set overall spending, they must pass a bill with more specifics by Jan. 15. Each time budget deadlines hit, some lawmakers …

House, Senate Negotiators Reach Budget Deal

The two-year budget deal approved by House and Senate negotiators may be most notable for what it doesn’t do. The agreement, unveiled on Dec. 10, aims to keep the government from running out of money in January, avert another government shutdown, cut $23 billion from the federal deficit over two years and ease automatic spending cuts in military and many domestic programs. But the deal doesn’t make major changes in Medicare and Social Security, which many Republicans favored, and it …