Medicare and Medicaid are on the table and President Obama has told Republican lawmakers he's ready to start cutting tens of billions of dollars from the programs to reduce the federal deficit—as long as Republicans are prepared to accept tax raises in return. "We are very willing to entertain savings in Medicare,' Sen. Chuck Schumer says. "Medicare gives very good health care very inefficiently."
Administration officials have signaled that they are willing to accept cuts of up to $100 billion over the next decade, including cuts to payments to hospitals for uncollectable debt and doctor training. Health care industry lobbyists have launched an advertising blitz to prevent the cuts. "Congress smells blood," the chief lobbyist for nonprofit nursing homes tells the New York Times. (Read more Medicare stories.)