Medicare up for debate in 'fiscal cliff' negotiations

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President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama

With deficit reduction all the rage in Washington, the central question remains: Where might funding cuts and revenue streams come from? Medicare is in the crosshairs, continuing to make providers anxious as deficit reduction talks stretched into the weekend.

The administration's $4 trillion plan, submitted to lawmakers Thursday, includes $1.6 trillion in higher taxes and a $400 billion in cuts to entitlement programs, including Medicare. The GOP rejected the administration's offer last week, although Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told the Wall Street Journal that he'd like to see an increase in the Medicare eligibility age and increase in Medicare premiums for the wealthy as part of a deal to increase tax revenue.

Long-term care providers have fought against any cuts to Medicare, with the American Health Care Association campaigning in November with a weeklong ad blitz.

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