Uwe Reinhardt is an economist from Princeton and one of the most respected experts on the economics of health care. He discusses the choices that he would make and his rationale for each choice. There are value judgments in his selections of things to cut but his rationales have more reasoning behind them that those of the less informed.
He makes the point, that most everyone agrees with, that politicians have spoiled us by providing government services and benefits without paying for them with taxes. His graph which shows that the US has the lowest percentage of tax payments as a percent of GDP than any industrialized country in the world may surprise you. It will certainly give your conservative friends another good reason not to be confused by facts. I tend to agree with the comment of a famous GOP senator from another era: "Everyone has a right to their own opinion. They are not, however, entitled to their own facts".