OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Obama budget hits post-acute care, drugmakers

President Obama's latest budget proposal would hit post-acute-care providers, drug companies and wealthier seniors on Medicare as part of $402 billion in estimated healthcare savings over the next decade. 



Familiar from previous White House budgets, the proposals appeared in a document notable for its continuity on healthcare spending for 2015. Nearly all of Obama's previous healthcare savings were repeated in the latest budget, including the increased means testing for seniors in Medicare that's proven controversial on Capitol Hill.

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Another proposal derided by Democrats — chained consumer price index (CPI) — was abandoned in the budget, raising questions about whether the administration would also forgo further Medicare means testing. 

Chained CPI refers to a change in calculating Social Security benefits that would amount to a cut for seniors. 

To accomplish the savings, in part, the budget would cut certain payments to post-acute-care providers, like skilled nursing facilities, and place a cap on the price Medicare Part D plans could pay for drugs.

Elise Viebeck at The Hill reports.

R&D: Powerful research and disease groups criticized President Obama's budget Tuesday as inadequate to ensure the United States's role as global research leader. Federal funding for research suffered under sequestration, and the 2015 budget's small increases for the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration do not go far enough in reversing those cuts, the groups said. Elise Viebeck at The Hill reports.

2016: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) brought the crowd at a town-hall event to its feet Tuesday after a woman asked him what could be done to lessen the burden of ObamaCare.

“Elect a new president,” Christie quipped.

Jonathan Easley at The Hill reports.

Risk corridors: The White House’s 2015 budget proposes spending $5.5 billion next year on an ObamaCare program Republicans have labeled a “bailout” of the insurance industry.

The Affordable Care Act creates a temporary pool of money, known as risk corridors, to pay insurers who enroll a higher-than-expected number of sick patients through 2016. ObamaCare transfers the money from lower-risk plans to higher-risk plans to keep premium prices stable in the early stages of the law.

At least some of the risk corridor payments will be funded by the insurers themselves, as the law requires companies with better-than-expected results to contribute to the pool. Jonathan Easley at The Hill reports.

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Georgia legislature votes to give itself a say in Medicaid expansion.

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