Next On Capitol Hill: Skirmishes Over Tax Breaks And The ‘Doc Fix’
The Associated Press terms it a "symbol" of the "federal government's budget dysfunction" because physicians again are facing a steep cut in Medicare payments unless Congress intervenes. This time, though, such action will be considered in the context of other difficult budget questions.
Los Angeles Times: Decade-Old Tax Breaks Continue To Loom Over Budget
The battle over the Bush-era breaks will determine what happens to almost every part of the federal budget, including the spending cuts that are now mandated as a result of the "super committee's" failure and the long-term outlook for Medicare and other entitlement programs (Mascaro, 11/27).
The Fiscal Times: America's Broken Government — What Do We Do Now?
Besides resolving the controversy over the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance, there are an additional 60 tax provisions set to expire by the end of the year unless lawmakers. ... Moreover, a temporary spending measure that finances the government's day-to-day operations will expire on Dec. 16. That means Republican and Democratic appropriators and the White House must negotiate or yet again, risk a government shutdown. ... [H]ow to wrest control of spending for national health care and retirement programs that is driving the national debt (now $15 trillion) steadily higher? (Pianin, 11/24).
CNN Money: Bush Tax Cuts: The Real Endgame
Congress has a way of waiting to the very last minute to resolve big issues, so December is usually a busy month on Capitol Hill. This year will be no exception. But next year? Next year will be no exception on steroids. This December, for example, lawmakers will have to decide, among other things, whether to extend the payroll tax cut, long-term unemployment benefits, the Medicare "doc fix," Alternative Minimum Tax relief and a bevy of business tax breaks. But that list — worth less than $1 trillion — will pale in comparison to the $5 trillion of fiscal decisions likely to be left for a lame-duck Congress during the seven weeks between the Nov. 6 election and New Year's Eve. The biggest items on the agenda? The expiration of the Bush tax cuts and the impending enactment of the automatic spending cuts that many want to replace (Sahadi, 11/28).
Modern Healthcare: Cloudy Outlook
Now that the deficit-reduction super committee has failed to reach agreement, health care providers are dealing with the reality that things could get worse before they get worse. A series of congressional hearings, intense lobbying efforts and countless closed-door meetings were not enough to help the 12-member Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction complete its task last week of delivering a proposal to Congress that identified ways to reduce the federal deficit by at least $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years (Zigmond, 11/28).
The Associated Press: Back On The Brink: Doctors Again Face Steep Medicare Cuts Unless Congress Acts Before Jan. 1
It's become a symbol of sorts for the federal government's budget dysfunction: Unless Congress acts before Jan. 1, doctors will again face steep Medicare cuts that threaten to undermine health care for millions of seniors and disabled people. This time it's a 27.4 percent cut (Alonso-Zaldivar, 11/28).