Politico’s Manu Raju is reporting that the so-called Gang of Six senators looking for a bipartisan agreement on a package of spending reductions that could be paired with a vote to increase the national debt ceiling may have reconvened “after Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn unexpectedly rejoined the group — and more senators are now coalescing around a new proposal that would cut the debt by as much as $3.7 trillion over the next decade.” The group is looking at a two-prong strategy that would make some $500 billion in cuts now and fast track the process of finding more savings in Congress. The health care portions of the package include:
— Unspecified health care cuts to Medicare and Medicaid
— Repeal of the the CLASS Act, a provision of the Affordable Care Act which would provide long-term care insurance
— Instructs the Senate Finance Committee to reform or replace Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) to save up to $298 billion and an additional $202 billion/$85 billion in health savings
— Instructs the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee to find $70 billion in cuts
— Instructs the Budget Committee to “review total federal health care spending starting in 2020 with a target of holding growth to GDP plus one percent per beneficiary and require action by Congress and the President if exceeded”
— Instructs the Judiciary Committee to find an unspecified amount through medical malpractice reform.
President Obama seemed to endorse the plan’s general approach during an appearance in the White House press briefing room this afternoon, calling it “balanced.” “It would not match perfectly with some of the approaches that we’ve taken, but I think we’re in the same playing field,” he said.