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Break Time!

…and maybe Congress has earned it. The House and Senate go on hiatus this week and next. They’ll return to work in Washington, D.C., on April 13th. Before they left town, each chamber had a little productive streak, with Medicare legislation moving in the House and the Senate getting some budgeting done. The House debated […]

Medicare Costs Money

Since 1966, the U.S. federal government has administered Medicare, picking up much of the tab for the health care of Americans aged 65 and older, younger people with disabilities, and victims of a few select diseases. To try and control costs in the Medicare system, in 1997 Congress created the “sustainable growth rate.” The idea […]

Obamacare Encore, Take Two: SGR Edition

Last week, the House passed, H.R. 4118, the SIMPLE Fairness Act, to delay the individual mandate in Obamacare. Well and good. We called it the House’s “Obamacare Encore.” But the Senate is not going to pass that bill. It’s time for the Obamacare encore, take two. The House is coming back again this week with […]

And Then There’s the House Conservatives’ Budget

That’s H.Con. Res. 37. We’ll update you when the text of the plan, and thus our cost estimate, is available, but a release from Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) has the following summary information about the Republican Study Committee (“RSC”) budget: While the Ryan budget leaves Social Security largely untouched, the RSC plan proposes to strengthen […]

Budget Battle: A Senate No-Show and a Presidential Do-Over

House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) spending blueprint will go to the House floor this week. (It has yet to be introduced, so we can’t point you to the page for it.) It’s the House counterpart to the president’s budget plan, which we discussed briefly in an earlier post. By April 15th, the House […]

Now THAT’s a Spending Bill!

More than $7,400 per U.S. family is what the Senate Labor/HHS appropriations bill would spend. S. 3686 would spend money on the Department of Labor, the Department of Health and Human Services, and various programs in that vein. Some of the bigger chunks are Medicare and Social Security. Wanna see ’em all? Scroll down… This […]

Congress’ Costly SNAFU on Medicare Payments

Medicare is running out of money, and a 21% cut in payments to Medicare providers (sort of) went into effect June 1st. Doctors, hospitals, and old people have learned to rely on government payments, so they are pretty well organized to keep the flow of dollars going. Thus relief from this pay cut—known as the […]

Now YOU can Opt Out of Medicare Part A!

Well, not yet. But you could if S. 3094 were to pass.

Unemployment: Long-Term Costs, a Short-Term Extension

The PBS NewsHour had an interesting feature Friday about the social consequences of long-term unemployment. No surprise—the results are mostly negative. “Psychologically, it’s roughly equivalent to the death of a spouse,” says journalist Don Peck, who has written an article on all this in March’s edition of The Atlantic. Young workers who get their start […]

The President’s Budget—Agency by Agency

The release of the president’s budget last week kicked off the planning process for fiscal year 2011, which begins October 1st. We reviewed the schedule and the total cost of the budget—$39,000 per family—in a blog post last week. A lot of statistics come out with the budget, including an agency-by-agency run-down of the president’s […]