Congress’s most recent spending battle left the health industry with some nicks and scratches, but it’s leery of having to hand over even bigger savings in the next battle looming two months from now.
From hospitals to doctors to insurers to drug makers, industry players are expecting they’ll come up in the mix as lawmakers search for ways to pay for another deal to avert sequestration and increase the debt limit.
Some of the biggest ideas for cutting health care spending got pushed to the side when President Barack Obama and Congress turned their attention to cutting a smaller fiscal cliff deal. But now, Republicans say they’ll insist on real spending cuts in the debt limit-sequestration fight. And if Obama continues to resist big entitlement changes, the health care industry could be in for another round of cuts.
“In many ways, we’re kind of in the same place as before but there are just different drivers in relation to this cliff,” said Rick Pollack, executive vice president at the American Hospital Association. “A lot of the same issues are likely, unfortunately, to raise their head again.”
Here is a guide to what’s at stake for the health care industry in the next round: (more…)