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  •  Jackie Calmes and Robert Pear at the NYT (4+ / 0-)

    penned an article a couple days ago regarding a possible meeting of the minds between the president and congressional Republicans with respect to Medicare.  Eric Cantor (believe it or not) has suggested an approach that Obama is considering which may provide some common ground..

    Mr. Obama assured House and Senate Republicans during recent separate visits that he could support specific cost-saving changes to Medicare and deliver Democratic votes, though only as part of a “balanced” package that had additional revenues.

    Several changes are likely to once again be in his annual budget, which will be released on April 10, after Congress returns from its break. Mr. Obama also plans a dinner with Senate Republicans that night.

    In particular, participants say, the president told House Republicans that he was open to combining Medicare’s coverage for hospitals and doctor services. That would create a single deductible that could increase out-of-pocket costs for many future beneficiaries, but also could pay for a cap on their total expenses and reduce the need to buy Medigap supplementary insurance.

    Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the No. 2 House Republican, proposed much the same in a speech in February. “We should begin by ending the arbitrary division between Part A, the hospital program, and Part B, the doctor services,” he said. “We can create reasonable and predictable levels of out-of-pocket expenses without forcing seniors to rely on Medigap plans.”

    While Mr. Cantor’s proposal got little attention at the time, its echo by Mr. Obama hints at a new route toward compromise — in contrast with the budget that House Republicans passed this month that has no chance of Senate approval.

    Speaking as a Medicare recipient, I would welcome the ability to drop the need for purchasing medigap policies.  But as always, the devil will be in the details.

    P.S.  If you have never heard of Robert Pear, I consider him the best reporter I've ever read on the subject of health care in the U.S.

    "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

    by SueDe on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 05:29:01 AM PDT

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