Top House and Senate budget negotiators have carved out a deal that would end many parts of the across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration, but long-term care providers would face an additional two years of reduced Medicare reimbursements.
This year, Medicare providers took a 2% hit to their reimbursements due to sequestration. Under the deal finalized Tuesday evening, these cuts would not be totally phased out until 2023 — two years after their current scheduled expiration date. This extension would result in about $23 billion in deficit reduction, which would help offset increased spending on various military and domestic programs currently feeling the pinch of sequestration, according to The New York Times.
The House and Senate must approve the compromise by the end of the week for it to take effect. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), the leaders of their respective budget committees, stressed that passage would prevent another political crisis in January, when the deal hammered out to reopen the government in October ends.
While the budget deal drew praise from party leaders including President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), opposition was swift as well. Influential conservative groups such as Heritage Action blasted the deal as a return to fiscally irresponsible big spending after the more austere period marked by sequestration.