Noteworthy News

Will Fiscal Cliff Deal Make Medicare, Medicaid More Vulnerable?

The relative lack of spending cuts included in the fiscal cliff/Medicare doc fix deal passed by Congress last week could increase the pressure to reduce costs in key safety-net programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

Or so some policy analysts believe.

Many members of Congress supported the fiscal cliff bill only reluctantly because of it lacked the bigger spending cuts they sought, the thinking goes.  Now, with another fiscal cliff deadline looming on March 1, when the previously passed sequestration law takes effect, many who compromised last week will be demanding bigger cuts in exchange for their vote.

As a result, Medicare and Medicaid, two of the federal government’s fastest-growing expenses, are expected to be targets for those in search of cuts.  In addition, Medicare has proven to be among the first places many officials look in their search for savings.

Any attempt to implement additional reductions in Medicare and Medicaid, beyond those already scheduled to take effect through the Affordable Care Act and last week’s fiscal cliff bill, would be especially damaging to the nation’s private, non-profit urban safety-net hospitals.  The National Association of Urban Hospitals (NAUH) can be expected to lobby vigorously against any further Medicare or Medicaid cuts.

Read more about how last week’s budget solution is far from the end of the threat to Medicare and Medicaid in this Boston Globe articledollars.

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