Providers ready to fight proposed Medicare, Medicaid cuts

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If President Bush proposes more than $70 billion in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid over the next five years, as he is anticipated to do this week, expect to hear howling from the nursing home community. Skilled nursing facilities would stand to lose millions of dollars in reimbursements under such a scenario.

The proposal, which is to be a part of Bush's new budget plan, aims to balance the budget by 2012, administration officials and healthcare lobbyists told the New York Times. Congressional Democrats were gearing up to battle any such proposal on Capital Hill late last week.

Although details had not been released, much of the proposed savings is expected to come from freezes in Medicare payments and cutting the inflation allowance paid to nursing homes, hospitals and other healthcare providers. In addition, the president likely will propose that Medicare beneficiaries with higher incomes pay higher premiums.

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