Spending Cuts to Delay Launch of New Weather Satellites

Weather satellites, which help warn the public of coming disasters like the tornado in Moore, Okla., will be delayed in launching because of budget cuts. Deputy Commerce Secretary Rebecca M. Blank told members of the Senate Appropriations Committee earlier this year that the across-the-board budget cuts known as the sequester could have a significant impact on the satellites that track tornadoes and hurricanes. In a letter to Congress, Blank said that the next generation of what are called “geostationary weather …

Meals on Wheels Caught in Budget Food Fight

Meals on Wheels programs across the nation are seeing the pain of federal budget cuts. The system that delivers hot meals to millions of home-bound or low-income seniors five days a week isn’t near collapse. But with across-the-board spending cuts, called sequestration, taking hold since March 1, local programs have begun to limit who they serve and intend to pull back in other ways. “It’s a slowly developing crisis,” Martha Roherty, executive director of the National Association of States United …

Sequester: Doom or Snooze? 5 Points of View

Everyone’s got an opinion on the sequester, from “the sky is falling” to “ho-hum.” Here are a few more perspectives on the impact of the $85 billion in federal spending cuts that kick in March 1. The sequester saves Social Security. Laura Clawson on Daily Kos Daily Kos staffer Clawson makes the argument that an alternative deal to stave off sequester likely would “gut Social Security.” Social Security and Medicare benefits are protected from the automatic cuts. But she quotes Rep. …

Medicare Doctor Pay: Why Is It So Hard To Fix?

By Mary Agnes Carey, Senior Correspondent, Kaiser Health News While physicians have sidestepped drastic Medicare payment cuts for 2013, doctors’ groups and lawmakers are gearing up for yet another battle to scrap the formula that forces Congress to consider the “doc fix” on a yearly basis. For doctors, the nail-biter has become a familiar but frustrating rite. Lawmakers invariably defer the cuts prescribed by a 1997 reimbursement formula, which everyone agrees is broken beyond repair. But the deferrals are always temporary …

Pressure Rising to Avoid Cuts in Health Programs

By Mary Agnes Carey, Senior Correspondent, Kaiser Health News Pressure is mounting for Washington to find a way to avoid the automatic spending reductions set to begin March 1, with President Barack Obama Tuesday urging Congress to stop the “meat-cleaver approach” that he says will undermine U.S. military strength and “eviscerate job creating investments in education and energy and medical research.” But while both Democrats and Republicans say they don’t want the billions of dollars in cuts to kick in, there’s …

What Washington Politicians Really Mean When They Talk About Our Benefits

This originally appeared at The Huffington Post. This week before the President’s State of the Union address, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that the President won’t advocate for raising the age of Medicare beneficiaries but that he’s absolutely willing to cut our Social Security benefits.  Carney’s tune dramatically changed the narrative from the 2012 campaign by saying said that the President wouldn’t “ask seniors to bear the burden of further deficit reduction alone.”  During the 2012 election candidates …