Providers face another fiscal cliff. In only a few weeks, automatic budget cuts are set to go into effect unless Congress acts to delay or permanently fix the mandated sequestration cuts. On March 1, Medicare will reduce reimbursements by two percent, ending the two-month extension and temporary relief providers got from the New Year deal.
But according to reports, this is one fiscal cliff that Congress may go over. Though Congress and Obama didn’t intend to implement the reductions agreed on in 2011, pundits content the cuts will go into effect anyway, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Some GOP members say they would rather see the automatic cuts than another short-term fix.
“You’re going to feel it,” said Steve Bell, senior director of economic policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington. “There’s no way there can’t be a slowdown [in government services]. You’re going to see it at a local level.”
Obama last week signaled the White House’s commitment to resolving the sequestration issue.
Although Congress has discussed options to reduce spending, politicians are sharply divided on how to do it, the Times noted.
The answer shouldn’t be tax increases, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Sunday on Meet the Press.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), meanwhile, said she and other House Democrats oppose raising the eligibility age for Medicare recipients from 65 to 67 — another discussed measure to curb federal spending, POLITICO reported.
Although the two percent Medicare cuts sound like small change, hospitals are worried that coupled with a separate looming 25 percent cut, as well disproportionate share hospital adjustments, providers will be paralyzed with cumulative reimbursement reductions.
Call to Action
Medicare home health reimbursement rates have been cut by more than $40 billion in cuts under the Affordable Care Act, and now Congress is considering an additional two percent as well as home health copays.
Click here to visit the Legislative Action Center and tell Congress that the industry cannot sustain more cuts, and that balancing the budget cannot be done on the backs of seniors through a copay!