The New York Times: The Truly Grand Bargain
Republicans should go to the White House and say they are willing to see top tax rates go up to 36 percent or 37 percent and they are willing to forgo a debt-ceiling fight for this year. This is a big political concession, but it's not much of an economic one. … In return, Republicans should also ask for some medium-size entitlement cuts as part of the fiscal cliff down payment. ... But the big demand would be this: That on March 15, 2013, both parties would introduce leader-endorsed tax and entitlement reform bills in Congress that would bring the debt down to 60 percent of G.D.P. by 2024 and 40 percent by 2037, as scored by the Congressional Budget Office (David Brooks, 12/3).
The New York Times: The House Makes An Offer
The proposal ... purports to raise $800 billion in revenue over a decade by ending deductions and loopholes, while allowing the Bush-era tax cuts for the rich to continue. It would cut $1.2 trillion in spending, half of which would come from Medicare, Medicaid, and other health programs, including an increase in the Medicare eligibility age to 67. Another $600 billion would be cut from other unspecified spending (12/3).
The New York Times: It's Health Care Costs, Stupid
The point is that if you want to control Medicare costs, you can't do it by kicking a small number of relatively young seniors off the program; to control costs, you have to, you know, control costs. And the truth is that we know a lot about how to do that -; after all, every other advanced country has much lower health costs than we do, and even within the U.S., the VHA and even Medicaid are much better at controlling costs than Medicare, and even more so relative to private insurance. The key is having a health insurance system that can say no -; no, we won't pay premium prices for drugs that are little if any better, we won't pay for medical procedures that yield little or no benefit (Paul Krugman, 12/3).
The New York Times' Opinionator: From All Sides, Fiscal Plans Fall Far Short Of What's Needed
We don't yet know whether our economy will take the icy plunge off the fiscal cliff, but do we know this: At present course and speed, any budget deal that emerges from the intense brinkmanship now under way would fall short of every sensible ambition for fiscal reform (Steven Rattner, 12/3).
The Washington Post: In 'Cliff Talks,' Obama On Brink Of Disaster
While Obama was inviting Republicans to capitulate aboard the USS Missouri, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and 32 other Senate Democrats signed a letter declaring, "We will oppose including Social Security cuts for future or current beneficiaries in any deficit reduction package." Not in a year-end package, mind you, but in any package. 14 Senate Democrats wrote a letter opposing any changes to Medicare or Medicaid as well. It will be hard for Obama and the Democrats to blame the GOP for taking us over the fiscal cliff when they are the ones cheering for going over the edge (Marc A. Thiessen, 12/3).
Kansas City Star: Why Medicare And Medicaid Remain Popular Programs
They say Social Security is the third rail of American politics: Touch it and you die. That extends to Medicare and even Medicaid as well. I'd like to take this opportunity to remind President Barack Obama and members of both parties in Congress of why that is. If you are an ordinary American worker, you might be unlucky enough to learn a new buzzword in the health care industry: memory care. It refers to the health care assistance some older people need to do basic things like take the correct pills at the right time or remember whether they already ate lunch. This care is incredibly expensive -; several thousand dollars a month in a live-in facility (Mary Sanchez, 12/3)
The Washington Post: Extending Leadership On Disability Issues
Today, the United States has an opportunity to show leadership and reduce the challenges that millions of disabled people around the world face every day: The Senate can vote to join the U.N. treaty on rights for people with disabilities. By encouraging other nations to strengthen their own accessibility laws, we can improve the lives of our 56.7 million disabled U.S. citizens, including 5.5 million disabled veterans like me, when we travel and work abroad. Many of those opposing this treaty claim to support military veterans, but a vote against ratifying this treaty undercuts that support (Dan Berschinski, 12/3).
The Wall Street Journal: Doctor Dissident
At 20 minutes after-hours, a handful of patients sit in the front office of Vladimir Gressel's multi-specialty practice. A few seniors, a young man and a mother and daughter are still waiting to see one of the clinic's two GPs or its cardiologist, podiatrist or orthopedic surgeon. They will not, however, be seeing Dr. Gressel, the physiatrist who co-owns and manages East Shore Medical. The Belarus-born doctor took a hiatus five months ago from treating patients. Now, facing four more years of President Obama, he's considering a permanent end to his doctoring days, at least in this country (Anne Jolis, 12/3).
The Dallas Morning News: Parkland Must Prove Reforms Are Effective In Practice
Today is an important day for Parkland Health & Hospital System officials. They will tell their Board of Managers that 91 percent of the action items in their Corrective Action Plan have been completed and 95 percent are on schedule to make deadline…. The question now for Parkland officials is whether they can turn their reforms from checklists to reality. In effect, they are most of the way through the written portion of their exam. What follows is more critical: proving that those plans actually work in practice and are hard-wired throughout their organization (12/3).