Medicaid Cuts and Corporate Donations to the Inaugural — Today’s Qs for O’s WH — 12/11/12

Dec 11, 2012 3:40pm

ASSOCIATED PRESS: One of the items in that book that you just showed us includes some Medicaid adjustments that presumably are part of this — part of the president’s offer. But there were reports yesterday that HHS is backing off some of these Medicaid changes that would allow for a blended percentage of rate adjustments for states.

Is that true, and if you are backing down from some of these proposals, what does that say about where the president — how the president — (inaudible) –

CARNEY: Well, let me say two things about that. Yeah. While there has been a call for greater specificity and where are the cuts, the fact is this document was produced more than a year ago and has been available to everyone in this room for that time and everybody on Capitol Hill, so that is a fact.

As part of that fact, there has been some changes in the — there have been some changes in the world that affect some of the proposals here, including the Supreme Court’s decision. And so a very small percentage of the provisions in here, the proposals in here that affect Medicaid we would no longer put forward but would absolutely make up in terms of the size of savings in other ways. But I — you know, we’re talking about 10 percent here, nothing too sizable.

TAPPER: Can I follow on — just on that specific question?

CARNEY: Sure.

TAPPER: So it’s a high — isn’t it $100 billion in Medicaid savings?

CARNEY: I don’t have the details in front of me. It’s not on that scale when we talk about the overall percentage of — when we talk about the overall amount of entitlement program savings and — as well as, broken out, the health care savings. So –

TAPPER: Didn’t the president also offer — wasn’t this also on the table during the last fiscal cliff negotiations or whatever it was called at the time, the — I guess the debt ceiling negotiations? Wasn’t that one of the items on the table that the president had already agreed to, the $100 billion in — (inaudible) –

CARNEY: Yeah, I don’t have the specifics for the — for the different iterations here, but there has — time has passed, and there have been some impacts on the Medicaid program that change our calculations on this. But we’re not talking about a sizable portion of the proposed — specific proposed savings from health care entitlements or our overall savings from mandatory entitlement programs. And we would find other savings. We would propose — we will propose other savings to make up for the difference.

The fact is that the vast majority of these proposed savings account for a higher degree of specificity than we have seen, by far, from the Republicans.

And going back to the revenue side of this, we’ve seen exactly no specificity from the Republicans except for a vague promise of an insufficient number, $800 billion in revenue, gleaned from unnamed closed loopholes and capped deductions. So if the issue is where — you know, where are your proposals, I think we’ve answered that question in full, acknowledging that we’re not going to get exactly what we’ve put forward, that there’s a discussion and negotiation that has to take place. And the president’s been very clear that he understands that and that he’ll make some tough choices in order to reach a balanced proposal on the scale that he’s talked about.

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TAPPER: About the decision to allow corporate donations for the inaugural festivities — why did the president change his mind on that?

CARNEY: You know, I would refer you to PIC, which has been set up and, I think, is taking questions on that. I haven’t — I haven’t had that discussion.

TAPPER: The president was part of the transition committee in 2008-2009, when they announced that the reason that they were setting these new limitations was part of President-elect Obama’s pledge to put the country on a new path. This is — this is not just a PIC decision. This is a presidential decision.

CARNEY: Well, I understand. But I — but PIC is handling questions like that. I haven’t had that discussion with anyone here. It’s the province of the inaugural committee. So I would — I would address your questions there. And I’m sure they are taking questions like that.

– Jake Tapper

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