Deficit-reduction plan to gain $600 billion from lower provider payments and higher beneficiary premiumsFebruary 21, 2013
The co-chairs of President Barack Obama's deficit reduction commission are promoting a way to achieve $600 billion in healthcare "savings" in a new version of their deficit reduction plan. Medicare and Medicaid cuts would be targeted over the next 10 years.
Nursing homes could be hurt if the federal government lowers or eliminates the Medicaid provider tax threshold to reduce the national deficit, according to a recent report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS).
While a controversial Republican-supported Medicaid block-grants option will be off the table after last week's presidential election, uncertainty will continue about nursing homes' No. 1 source of payment as President Obama's healthcare reform plans move forward.
The Obama Administration has one month to issue a report detailing whether Medicare providers will see 2% across-the-board cuts based on legislation signed by the president Tuesday.
The Obama administration says that proposed reimbursement cuts to Medicare and Medicaid providers shield beneficiaries from access-to-care difficulties, but some experts aren't so sure.
Now that we know there will be an NFL season, fantasy football leagues are roaring into shape around the land. I would have loved to be in the "war room" to hear the give-and-take for drafting teams of another kind recently. That would be the Democrat and Republican teams for the Deficit Reduction Super Committee Bowl, er, negotiations. They're going to decide what is to be sacrificed on the way to $1.2 trillion or more in funding cuts over the next decade.
If it's the middle of August, that means federal lawmakers are on recess, touring their home districts. It also means providers are pursuing facility tours and other kinds of direct contact with the lawmakers. There is little chance members of Congress won't hear providers' concerns before heading back to Washington. Operators are rallying against an 11.1% average Medicare funding cut set to go into effect Oct. 1. They're also trying to sway opinion with members of the newly appointed "super panel" that will make deficit reduction recommendations by Thanksgiving.
If you thought the last few weeks of politicians' stomach-turning brinksmanship over the national debt ceiling wasn't fun — and who did? — you have no reason to look forward to the end of November and December.
As President Obama and Congress continue to evaluate a multitude of different ways to reduce Medicare spending, it is more important than ever for lawmakers to understand the critical role nursing homes play in providing the specialized care and therapy vital to patient rehabilitation, and central to avoiding costly rehospitalizations.
The good news is politicians can always change their minds. The bad news is, well, politicians can always change their minds. That must be the mixed feelings that many providers — Larry Minnix and his faithful crew at LeadingAge foremost among them — carry in their heads right now. It was little over a year ago when President Obama finally signed sweeping healthcare reform into law, and with it the much-debated CLASS Act.
With lawmakers coming down to the wire to create a U.S. deficit reduction package, provides will be turning up the lobbying heat in an effort to keep the CLASS Act, and certain other important Medicaid and Medicare programs. It could be an uphill battle: Several prominent proposals have already recommended billions of dollars of cuts in healthcare funding.