Archive for deficit reduction


Budget Talks Could Focus on Sequestration

Upcoming federal budget talks may very well focus on addressing what are perceived to be the more damaging cuts resulting from sequestration – the two percent across-the-board cut in federal spending required under the 2011 Budget Control Act.

While Medicaid was not affected by the sequester, all Medicare payments have been cut two percent since January 1, 2012, and other health care-related funding has been affected by the law as well.

Now, participants in the budget conference committee created as part of the deal to end the federal government shutdown are suggesting that instead of pursuing a major reordering of federal spending, they may very well focus on addressing the most damaging cuts required by the federal budget sequester.

Learn more about what the participants in the upcoming negotiations expect in this Washington Post article.…

PA Officials Estimate Sequestration’s Impact

Now that federal budget sequestration has taken effect, Pennsylvania state officials are busy calculating its potential effects on various health-related state activities.

As part of planning for sequestration, officials have developed estimates in a wide variety of areas, including cuts in substance abuse programs, meals for low-income seniors, food programs, immunizations, AIDS/HIV screenings, medical tests for women and children, and more.  They also are looking at how much Pennsylvania health care providers will lose in Medicare payments and research funding and how many jobs might be lost across the state as a result of significant reductions in federal spending under sequestration.

For a closer look at the anticipated impact of sequestration on these and other aspects of health care spending in Pennsylvania, see this article in the Pittsburgh Business Times.…

Sequestration 101

Unless Congress and the President act in the next week, a process called “sequestration” – a product of the federal Budget Control Act of 2011 – will take effect in which significant cuts in federal spending will automatically and immediately take effect.

Significantly, from the perspective of hospitals, all Medicare payments to hospitals will be cut two percent.  (Medicaid is not affected by sequestration).

But what is sequestration and what are its implications for Medicare and those who depend on Medicare to pay for their patients’ services?

Learn more about sequestration here, on The Medicare Newsgroup web site, where you also will find several FAQs on different aspects of sequestration and its implications for Medicare.…

A Medicare Cuts Menu

As policy-makers in Washington, D.C. continue to talk about ways to reduce federal spending, or at least the growth of federal spending, it is clear they also will continue to look at Medicare as a potential source of savings.

When they do, they will draw from a variety of past efforts to cut Medicare costs – recommendations from congressional committees, presidential commissions, MedPAC, and others.

The Kaiser Family Foundation has pulled together many of these Medicare proposals in a single document that promises to be an important resource for federal officials in the coming months.  Find the report, Policy Options to Sustain Medicare for the Future, here on the web site of the Kaiser Family Foundation.…

Medicaid Safe, White House Aide Says

While the Obama administration is willing to discuss further Medicare cuts as part of a broader effort to reduce federal spending, it opposes any further cuts in Medicaid, according to a White House aide.

Speaking at a Families USA conference, economic advisor Gene Sperling explained that the administration now opposes even the Medicaid cuts it proposed last year but is willing to negotiate changes in Medicare that could result in reduced spending on that program.

Read more about the White House’s emerging priorities in this article from The Hill.