Nursing home payment cuts on the table, Obama administration says

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Vice President Joe Biden
Vice President Joe Biden

Obama administration officials say that trimming payments to nursing homes and other providers would substantially reduce future Medicare and Medicaid outlays. But officials are insisting that Republicans accept tax hikes as a condition for such spending cuts.

Administration officials say they are willing to accept Medicaid cuts that could trim federal outlays by $100 billion in the next decade, The New York Times reported. Two weeks ago, before budget negotiations led by Vice President Joe Biden dissolved, Democrats and Republicans were able to agree on cuts they claimed would not radically alter Medicare and Medicaid, according to the paper.

These provisions include the elimination of Medicare “overpayments” to nursing homes; lowering the federal share of some Medicaid spending; and further limiting states' ability to finance Medicaid by imposing taxes on hospitals and other health care providers.

New York Sen. Charles Schumer (D) said congressional Democrats are “very willing to entertain savings in Medicare.” Meanwhile, fellow Democrat, Rep. Henry Waxman (CA), said he is “very concerned” about lowering the federal share of Medicaid, as this would shift costs to states that are already struggling with Medicaid costs, according to reports. Long-term care industry leaders have steadfastly opposed funding cuts to both programs.
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