Senate Democrats poised to introduce package to replace sequester cuts

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)

Democrats in the Senate could introduce a bill this week to replace the automatic spending cuts known as the sequester, which is scheduled to take effect March 1. Many long-term care stakeholders have opposed the 2% Medicare cuts that are part of the $85 billion sequestration package.

The bill will likely resemble a proposal recently put forward by the House of Representatives' Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), aides told The Hill newspaper.

Van Hollen's proposal includes the “Buffet Rule,” which would levy a minimum tax on those making seven figures annually. GOP lawmakers have signaled they will not support a bill containing revenue increases.

Long-term care groups have opposed the sequestration cuts, saying they are already suffering from an 11.1% reimbursement cut announced in October 2011.

Another option previously discussed was raising the Medicare eligibility age, but White House press secretary Jay Carney said on Monday that President Barack Obama is opposed to that idea.

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