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Analysis: Obama may turn Medicare reform into wider health debate


Sunday, January 6, 2013

President Barack Obama could seek common ground with Republicans in the looming battle over Medicare spending by broadening the debate over entitlement reform to encompass the spiraling healthcare costs that confront a wide range of Americans.

In recent public remarks the president has identified the U.S. healthcare system’s sky-high price tag – by far the highest in the world – as a driving force for Medicare reform.

The administration is expected to release a report on 2011 national healthcare expenditures on Monday that should further underline well-known trends. In 2010, health spending hovered at almost 18 percent of U.S. gross domestic product…

New initiatives would probably not end discussion of existing proposals to shave Medicare spending, including potential higher costs for wealthier beneficiaries and a possible increase in the enrollment age to 67 from 65.

A project by the Bipartisan Policy Center, led by former Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle, a Democrat, and Bill Frist, a Republican, is expected to make new proposals for reining in healthcare costs in the next few weeks.

2013-01-06 00:00:00