Noteworthy News

Focus on Medicare and Deficit Reduction

Urban safety-net hospitals have a great deal at stake in Medicare policy changes that may result from the budget deficit reduction process established through the Budget Control Act passed last month.

That process started with $900 billion in future federal spending cuts adopted immediately and another $1.2 trillion to be identified and passed by the end of the year – or, failing that, immediate cuts in various aspects of federal spending, including a two percent cut in Medicare payments to hospitals.

In an issue brief entitled “The Budget Control Act of 2011:  Implications for Medicare,” the Kaiser Family Foundation presents a broad look at what Congress has already done, the process Congress and its new Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction will follow to identify and consider additional future federal spending cuts, and the time-frames for completion of the work.

Urban safety-net hospitals will be watching closely – and advocating vigorously – as this committee and Congress address their deficit reduction responsibilities in the coming months and make vital decisions about Medicare’s future.  Many aspects of Medicare reimbursement that are vital to urban safety-net hospitals – Medicare disproportionate share (Medicare DSH) payments, Medicare indirect medical education (Medicare IME) payments, Medicare direct graduate medical education (Medicare DGME) payments, Medicare bad debt reimbursement, and more – will be on the table.

Read the Kaiser Family Foundation’s outlookWheelchair on the path Congress will take on deficit reduction in the coming months.

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