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Obama's Health Care Record

A look at the president's policies from the 2008 campaign through today

Medicare, Medicaid and the 2010 health law will continue to be hot topics this presidential campaign season. KHN has assembled this resource page to help track President Barack Obama's health policy record from his 2008 campaign positions to the enactment of the health law and his proposals to control federal health care spending.

See also: Mitt Romney on health care.

President Barack Obama positions on health care issues

In many ways, President Obama's health reform legislation was modeled after the system Mitt Romney instituted as governor of Massachusetts. — Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Obama on Medicare and Medicaid:

  • Obama repeatedly touts provisions in the 2010 health law that aim to expand coverage and bring down costs in so-called entitlement programs. The law's approach includes the expansion of Medicaid; the creation of the Independent Payment Advisory Board, accountable care organizations, and other payment pilots and demonstration projects to reward providers for delivering quality — rather than quantity — of care; and various cuts to Medicare providers and insurers. The administration has made clear that it is willing to go beyond the changes included in the law, particularly in the Medicare program, to ensure its solvency.
  • The administration proposed additional cuts in its fiscal year 2013 budget proposal, including reducing Medicare spending by $302 billion over 10 years and Medicaid spending by $56 billion over the same period. For example, the budget, which was released in February 2012 but not passed by Congress, would:
  1. Apply a single blended matching rate to Medicaid and CHIP.
  2. Phase down Medicaid provider tax threshold from 6 percent to a low of 3.5 percent in FY 2017 and beyond.
  3. Give the IPAB (PDF) authority to limit Medicare spending growth to GDP plus 0.5 percent, rather than GDP plus 1 percent.
  4. Increase income-related premiums under Medicare Part B and Part D.
  • During the 2011 budget negotiations between Congress and the White House, Obama considered far more dramatic changes to Medicare, such as increasing the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67, in exchange for Republican agreement to raise revenues, according to reports.
  • In Sept. 2011, after negotiations failed, Obama released a plan to cut the national deficit, including $320 billion in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid over 10 years (many of which found their way into the president's latest budget proposal). The plan did not include increasing the Medicare eligibility age.
  • The administration has opposed Republican proposals to turn Medicaid into a block grant for states.

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With Medicare facing serious financial trouble, how will the program continue to care for the nation's elderly and disabled?

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