Posts Tagged ‘fiscal cliff’

Call to Action: Medicare Cuts Likely to Come March 1

February 12, 2013

By , FierceHealthcare

Act Now - Red Button

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. (more…)

Congress Avoids the “Fiscal Cliff,” Preserves Home Care Benefit (For Now?)

January 2, 2013

In the eleventh hour before Congress would have taken the country off the so-called “fiscal cliff,” the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill late last night to avoid the consequences, which included immediate and automatic reimbursement cuts, increased debt and a possible downgrading of the U.S. credit rating. The vote in the House was 257-167, while the Senate passed the bill 89-8 earlier this week. The bill now goes to President Obama for his signature. (more…)

Obamacare vs. Medicare: Considering the Future of Medicare Advantage

December 12, 2012

By Joe Klein, Time Magazine

The approach of the so-called fiscal cliff has unleashed a torrent of inanity in Washington. The cliff is an artificial impediment, a testimony to the ineptitude of the last Congress, an overreaction to our overhyped long-term deficit problem. I don’t want to see middle-class taxes raised, but I’m not convinced that there would be severe consequences if we took a Thelma and Louise. We would return to the Clinton-era tax rates, which some economists say would result in a recession. But that’s what economists were saying when the Clinton rates took effect in 1993 – and the economy boomed. The $500 billion in Pentagon cuts might be a welcome discipline for a department still buying Cold War – era hardware. The $500 billion in domestic-policy cuts would be more harmful, but not fatal.

On the other hand, there is real value in using this manufactured crisis to take a close look at health care entitlement reform in the coming year, not only because we will be spending an obscene amount of money providing for us baby boomers in our dotage, but also – and this is more important – because our current health care system is a convoluted, crazymaking mess. By 2014, we will have no fewer than four health care systems: Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare and private-employer-provided insurance. In the long term, this is probably three too many. There is zero chance that the situation will be rationalized, and united, anytime soon – and it shouldn’t be. We should drift into health care rationality over time. But we can begin to smudge the borders between the systems, especially between Medicare and Obamacare. “People on the right loathe Obamacare,” says Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, one of the sharpest health care policy minds in Congress, “but they want to do the exact same thing for Medicare.” (more…)

HCAF Makes Capitol Hill Visits to Discuss Potential Medicare Cuts, Copays

December 7, 2012
HCAF representatives with Senator Nelson

HCAF staff with Sen. Nelson

HCAF representatives met yesterday with key lawmakers in Congress – including U.S. Senator Bill Nelson – to discuss the so-called “fiscal cliff,” which has implications for the home health care industry. As HCAF discussed at the recent district meeting series, Congress is faced with a two-percent cut to all federal programs, including Medicare home health provider payments, the end of the Bush-era tax cuts as well as having to address the federal debt ceiling – all by the end of the year. Congress is considering multiple ways to address the fiscal cliff, including additional cuts to home care and the imposition of a Medicare home health copayment. Copay figures have ranged from $100 to $600 per 60-day episode. (more…)