July 9, 2016
By Daniel Sutter Since it was founded alongside Medicare in 1965, Medicaid's costs have exploded from $5.3 billion to $449 billion (adjusted for inflation). It now comprises about 3 percent of our gross domestic product. The uncertainties associated with Medicaid, along with Medicare and Social Security, pose a serious threat to America's long-term fiscal health. How can we control Medicaid spending growth? We must first understand what's driving it. If medical need - the number of low-income Americans needing coverage and the cost of providing their medical care - explains all of the growth, then reform might involve a divisive and painful approach, like slashing the health care of children and pregnant women.
June 22, 2016
By Dan White Less than two weeks to go in the fiscal year, and Pennsylvania is still without a new budget. This is usually the time to start complaining about partisan gridlock and assign blame. That's easy to do from afar, but it is much more difficult to sit in Harrisburg and reconcile competing interests. So let's first take stock of how things stand elsewhere in the country. All but four states begin their new fiscal years in July, and of those, 10 still do not have a budget in place.
January 30, 2016
By Mary Woolley and Robert L. Bixby In passing a spending bill for 2016, Congress seemed to acknowledge that medical research had been cut too deeply for over a decade and agreed to boost funding for it in the coming months. But without reforms to address the basic structural problems in the federal budget, downward pressures on research and other important national priorities can be expected to continue. Consider what's at stake: Cutting-edge immunotherapy work at Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center to help achieve the goals of the "moonshot" initiative to cure cancer.
November 14, 2015 |
The super PAC backing Gov. Christie's presidential campaign said Thursday that it had launched its first radio ad in Iowa, portraying the New Jersey governor as a "true conservative outsider who successfully took the fight to liberal Democrats in a blue state. " A spokesman for the political action committee, America Leads, said the ad would run initially for two weeks, debuting on a dozen stations Friday. The ad is airing in New Hampshire, the PAC said. The spokesman would not say how much it cost but described the buy as "significant.
July 26, 2013
CLEVELAND - Deep plea-deal discussions hinging on the death penalty were underway yesterday for a man charged with kidnapping three women, keeping them cooped up in his run-down home and raping them repeatedly for about a decade, and a court hearing was scheduled for today. Both sides in the case against former school-bus driver Ariel Castro are headed back to court this morning before a judge who wants to be kept updated on the talks, Castro's attorney said. The sticking point in the plea talks for Castro, whose trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 5, has been whether the prosecutor would rule out the death penalty as demanded by the defense.
May 22, 2012 |
An open letter to Philadelphia Congressional Representatives Bob Brady, Chakah Fattah, and Allyson Schwartz: Important decisions are being made in Congress, giving more money to the military and taking away money from our states and communities. At the same time, Philadelphia City Council and School District are struggling with massive budget deficits. Catastrophe is right around the corner. While there is an effort to cut spending across the broad array of annual discretionary spending programs, Pentagon spending, which comprises 57 percent of the discretionary budget in the FY 2013 request, continues to absorb the lion's share of spending.
February 14, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - President Obama's proposed federal budget would shrink annual deficits over 10 years, but it would fall far short of taming the exploding federal debt. By the end of Obama's second term, if he is reelected, debt held by the public would rise to $15.7 trillion - more than double the $7.5 trillion debt he inherited when he came into office. And debt held by the public is projected to keep rising under his budget, reaching $19.5 trillion by 2022. Obama's budget, meanwhile, wouldn't slash annual deficits but would reduce them to levels considered less threatening but still high.
April 18, 2011
As the tax-filing deadline ("This year you get an automatic extension," Friday) arrives, and a debate on deficits and federal budget priorities begins, one major area of the federal budget appears to be largely off the table: military spending. Yet this accounts for 51 percent of the discretionary spending, the part of the budget that Congress can allocate however it chooses. That comes to over $750 billion, an average of nearly $6,000 per taxpaying household. Under Rep. Paul Ryan's proposed budget, it would continue to increase, and President Obama's alternative would only slow the rate of increase.
October 5, 2010
If tea-party adherents were serious in their desire to shrink the size of the federal government, they would have put down their picket signs last week, abandoned their defense of Christine O'Donnell's phony resumé, and crowded into Room 608 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. There, 18 Democrats and Republicans were at work on what may be the last hope for gaining control of government spending. They weren't shouting slogans, waving posters that label the Democrats as socialists, or giving voice to Glenn Beck conspiracy theories.
September 24, 2010 |
WASHINGTON - The "Pledge to America" that Republican leaders in the House rolled out Thursday is unlikely to reshape this fall's congressional elections or refurbish the nation's economy. Republican candidates already have plenty of momentum going into the November elections, and the GOP's new agenda is filled with themes that congressional Republicans have been pushing for nearly two years: Extend all the Bush-era tax cuts, repeal this year's health-care overhaul, and freeze most federal spending at 2008-09 levels.