Providers react to super-committee's failure to reach debt deal

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Joseph DeMattos Jr., President of the Health Facilities Association of Maryland
Joseph DeMattos Jr., President of the Health Facilities Association of Maryland

Members of the congressional “super-committee” announced Monday that the panel has failed to devise a deficit reduction plan ahead of its Wednesday deadline, drawing sharp criticism from provider groups.

The 12-member, bipartisan committee was tasked with finding a way to trim $1.2 trillion from the federal budget deficit over 10 years by a Nov. 23 deadline. Without Congress intervening, Medicare, among other agencies, is now subject to a 2% across-the-board cut under the Budget Control Act.

LeadingAge said that while the mandated cuts under the Budget Control Act don't go into effect until 2013, it expects President Obama and Congress to continue their efforts to reduce the federal budget gap.

"The Affordable Care Act contained reforms to the health care delivery system and to Medicare that are projected to reduce the growth of Medicare spending by $500 billion in the coming decade,” the group said in a statement. “This is the right way to rein in excessive spending.“

Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association, said in light of the committee's failure, the organization is pushing a proposal that would “reduce Medicare costs for post-acute care and encourage skilled nursing facilities to reduce $5 billion worth of hospital readmissions over 10 years.”

Still, other providers such as Joseph DeMattos, Jr., president of the Health Facilities Association of Maryland, calls the committee's failure to complete a proposal a “tremendous missed opportunity.”

According to DeMattos, previous deficit reduction proposals, such as the Simpson-Bowles Commission, Gang of Six and Domenici-Rivlin Task Force plans provided blueprints of possible cuts and increased revenues.

“However, if taken in isolation, each of these packages included provisions that would hurt the future stability of quality long-term and rehabilitative care — for instance a balanced approach cannot be reached by cost shifting federal cuts to struggling state budgets,” DeMattos said.
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