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Obama says he's ready to tackle Medicare costs

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President Obama indicated on Friday he is willing to take on members of his own party in reforming Medicare, the program that is at the center of debate over the nation’s long-term fiscal stability because of its great expense.

Mr. Obama, during a news conference on the so-called sequester set to cut into defense spending and an array of domestic programs, said some Democrats will not touch the health care entitlement program for older Americans and those with disabilities.

“And what I’ve said … is that I’m prepared to take on the problem where it exists, on entitlements, and do some things that my own party really doesn’t like, if it’s part of a broader package of sensible deficit reduction,” he said, adding, “I am prepared to do hard things and to push my Democratic friends to do hard things.”

House Republicans said this month they will seek a repeal of the “sustainable growth rate” (SGR) used to calculate Medicare payments to physicians and replace it with a statutorily-defined payment system that is more predictable.

They also want to reform the program’s fee-for-service payment model so that physicians are rewarded for quality care.

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