White House Fiscal Plan Draws Cool GOP Response This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. The proposal reflects Democratic priorities, focusing on stimulus spending and unspecified spending cuts this year, and legislation in 2013 that would cut as much as $400 billion from Medicare and other government entitlement programs over the next decade in exchange for $1.6 trillion in tax increases.The New York Times: GOP Balks At White House Plan On Fiscal CrisisThe proposal, loaded with Democratic priorities and short on detailed spending cuts, met strong Republican resistance. In exchange for locking in the $1.6 trillion in added revenues, President Obama embraced the goal of finding $400 billion in savings from Medicare and other social programs to be worked out next year, with no guarantees (Weisman, 11/29).Los Angeles Times: Obama And Boehner Seem To Hit Wall As ‘Fiscal Cliff’ LoomsAs Obama prepares to take his proposal on the road Friday, Democrats are increasingly buoyed, believing they hold a stronger hand. “Look, we don’t expect the Republicans to be enthusiastic and start cheerleading about a deal that includes higher rates on the wealthiest Americans,” said New York’s Sen. Charles E. Schumer, the No. 3 Democrat. “But they see the handwriting on the wall.” … Republicans are increasingly frustrated that Democrats have declined to outline specific cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and other government programs in exchange for Boehner’s willingness to consider new revenue sources (Mascaro and Parsons, 11/29).The Washington Post: Obama Makes Fresh Demands On ‘Fiscal Cliff’The offer lacks any concessions to Republicans, most notably on the core issue of where to set tax rates for the wealthiest Americans. … Democratic leaders, meanwhile, were triumphant after receiving similar briefings from Geithner and White House legislative liaison Rob Nabors. Top Democrats have for months insisted that an Obama victory would entitle them to demand far more in new taxes than Republicans have been willing to consider, to seek new measures to boost economic growth, and to avoid major cuts to entitlement programs, such as Social Security and Medicare (Montgomery and Kane, 11/29).The Associated Press/Washington Post: White House ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Offer Gets Withering GOP Response As Accusations FlyThe White House is seeking $1.6 trillion in higher taxes over a decade and an immediate infusion of funds to aid the jobless, help hard-pressed homeowners and perhaps extend the expiring payroll tax cut, officials said Thursday as talks aimed at averting an economy-rattling “fiscal cliff” turned testy. In exchange, the officials said, President Barack Obama will support an unspecified amount of spending cuts this year, to be followed by legislation in 2013 producing savings of as much as $400 billion from Medicare and other benefit programs over a decade (11/29).The Wall Street Journal: Obama’s Cliff Offer SpurnedThe proposal marked an opening salvo in negotiations over the fiscal cliff and represented a particularly expansive version of the White House’s wish list, with a heavy focus on tax increases and spending proposals—including keeping in place a payroll-tax cut and extended unemployment benefits. Republicans haven’t put any comparable offer on the table. They have indicated willingness to accept $800 billion in revenues over 10 years, half the amount Mr. Obama proposed. And they have sought far more in spending cuts in exchange for their concessions on taxes (Hook, Paletta and Lee, 11/29).Politico: GOP Rejects White House Fiscal Cliff OfferThe back-and-forth exchanges underscored how the November election results have failed to clarify how Washington should resolve intractable policy disputes threatening to shake the economy if Congress and the White House cannot reach a deal by New Year’s Day. And it left open the real possibility that the country could fall off the fiscal cliff when all the Bush-era tax rates expire, payroll taxes will increase, Medicare payments to physicians will drop and deep across-the-board spending cuts will go into effect (Sherman and Raju, 11/30).USA Today: GOP Calls White House Cliff Offer A Non-StarterThe $4 trillion package includes a number of requests that stand little or no chance of passing the GOP-controlled House, because Republicans continue to oppose raising individual tax rates. The package also includes spending cuts that are considered insignificant to Republicans, who want more concessions on spending for entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid (Davis and Madhani, 11/29).CNN: 10 Ways Falling Off The Fiscal Cliff Could Hurt Your HealthIf President Barack Obama and Congress cannot reach an agreement on the fiscal cliff, economic experts agree it would be devastating. It would likely send the country back into recession, according to the Congressional Budget Office, and some 3.4 million jobs would be lost. And ultimately, it could hurt your physical and emotional health. That’s because the part of the government that handles health-related programs — Medicare, veterans’ medical benefits, food safety inspectors — all would be automatically cut starting January 2 if there is no agreement on the Budget Control Act. If not amended in time, the move would abruptly remove $1.2 trillion from the federal budget (Christensen, 11/30).