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Headlines

A couple of headlines about the fiscal cliff and obamacare:

Wealthy Americans Face ACA Medicare Tax In 2013.

In a column for Reuters  (12/5), Amy Feldman explains that wealthy Americans will face a tax increase next year as part of the Affordable Care Act. The so-called Medicare tax comes in two parts, a 3.8% levy on investment income and a 0.9% increase on payroll taxes for those who make $200,000 filing alone or $250,000 filing jointly.

Obama Willing To Make Entitlement Reforms If Republicans Raise Taxes.

Fiscal cliff coverage Wednesday draws mainly upon an interview President Obama gave to Bloomberg TV, in which he rejected House Speaker John Boehner's initial offer, but said he'd be open to further entitlement reform if Republicans agreed to raise tax rates on the wealthiest Americans. Some reports saw this as further stalling, but several outlets considered the interview a sign that both sides are moving closer to compromise. Many sources looked into what entitlement reforms the President is likely to consider, with all agreeing the main cuts would come from Medicare.

        On Tuesday's broadcast, NBC Nightly News (12/4, lead story, 3:15, Williams) reported, “tonight we're no closer to compromise on a deal to avoid that so-called fiscal cliff.” White House Correspondent Kristen Welker explained, “In an interview today, President Obama suggested that more urgent than sitting down with House Speaker John Boehner right now, is convincing Republicans to increase rates on the wealthiest Americans. Republicans say they have delivered their best offer and now the ball is in the President's court. A day after Republicans put their plan on the table; President Obama rejected it outright in his first television interview since being re-elected.” According to the President's interview, “The main sticking point continues to be taxes.”

        On ABC World News (12/4, story 3, 2:30, Sawyer), Jake Tapper reported that if Republicans agree to raise tax rates on the top 2% of earners, President Obama said “he'll agree to serious spending cuts.” One cut Tapper saw “where there might be potential compromise,” is “raising the age when seniors can start receiving Medicare, from 65 to 67. That would help the government save almost $6 billion a year, according to one study, though it would also come at a cost. An average of $700 more in out-of-pocket costs for those seniors no longer eligible for Medicare not to mention additional healthcare costs for employers.”

        The Hill (12/4, Sink) reports, “President Obama on Tuesday dismissed the latest deficit-cutting proposal from Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) as 'still out of balance.'” The President told Bloomberg TV, “I think that we have the potential of getting a deal done, but it's going to require … a balanced, responsible approach to deficit reduction that can help give businesses certainty and make sure the country grows. Unfortunately, the Speaker's proposal is still out of balance.” He also said that if the Republicans would agree to raising tax rates on the wealthiest Americans, he would be willing “to make some tough decisions” about entitlements

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