Deficit Panel Feels Pressure To ‘Go Big;’ Looking In Usual Places
Health care advocates are getting nervous as they hone their pitches and prepare for this week's stepped up level of action.
The New York Times: Pressure Builds On Deficit Panel To 'Go Big,' Beyond Its Mandate, In Cuts
A higher deficit-reduction goal would increase pressure on both parties to address the two main drivers of projected high debt: the rapid growth of spending for the Medicare and Medicaid programs and an inefficient tax system unable to keep pace. That would test Republicans' opposition to raising any tax revenues from high-income individuals and corporations, and would challenge Congressional Democrats to agree to more savings from entitlement programs than they would like (Calmes, 9/12).
Politico: Deficit Panel Eyes Good Ol' Options
While that doesn't sound terribly ambitious, it does create a pretty familiar road map for the deficit panel: tax code reform, including closing loopholes for special interests and overhauling the big entitlement programs of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Other cuts to domestic programs are also under discussion, though the Defense Department is fighting deep cuts to military programs. Indeed, many old ideas seem to have fresh legs — before the panel's inaugural meeting last Thursday, members had begun revisiting some of the hundreds of billions of dollars in savings agreed to in the debt talks led by Vice President Joe Biden this spring (Wong, 9/11).
The Hill: Super Committee's Task Makes Health Care Advocates Nervous
Months of intense lobbying (and rampant speculation) will reach its next level this week — the first full week back in Washington for the deficit-cutting supercommittee. Health care interests are already making their pitches to the 12-member panel tasked with finding at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction by Thanksgiving. Because health care was largely spared in the debt-ceiling deal and because the super committee's failure to perform its task would trigger an automatic Medicare cut, just about every sector of the health industry is at least a little bit scared of this process (Baker, 9/12).
CQ HealthBeat: Trigger Would Eliminate 194,000 Hospital Jobs, AHA Says
Conventional wisdom says that the health sector would suffer less from the trigger provision of the new debt ceiling law than from whatever the deficit committee recommends. Better that the panel's suggestions fail to become law and an automatic 2 percent cut in Medicare take effect, this way of thinking holds. But hospital officials don't want to see the trigger squeezed. They say that would mean "devastating job losses to communities" (Reichard, 9/9).
Modern Healthcare: Medicare Cuts Would Threaten Jobs, AHA Warns
The American Hospital Association moved on Friday to position the industry as an economic engine after the president singled out Medicare as a source of savings to pay for proposed job relief. The trade group published a consulting firm report it commissioned that predicts up to 194,000 job losses through 2021 should Medicare hospital pay decline by 2 percent (Evans, 9/9).