The Obama administration is dangling billions in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid in front of GOP negotiators. However, the depth of the cuts depends on whether the Republicans will accept tax increases, The New York Times reported.
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., told the Times, “We are very willing to entertain savings in Medicare. Medicare gives very good healthcare very inefficiently.” He said that in return the GOP should be willing to consider tax increases.
Among items negotiators are considering are cuts in Medicare payments to hospitals for uncollectible patient debt, training of doctors, elimination of Medicare overpayments to nursing homes, and reducing the federal share of some Medicaid spending.
Medicare and Medicaid insure more than 100 million people and make up 23 percent of all federal spending.
The talks on cuts to Medicare and Medicaid have not gone unnoticed. William Minnix, the chief lobbyist for nonprofit nursing homes, told the Times, “Congress smells blood.”
Minnix called on nursing homes to “bombard your senators with the message that Medicaid cannot be cut by $100 billion” over 10 years.
Hospital lobbyists have begun an advertising campaign to block further cuts in the two programs, which account for about 55 percent of hospital revenues. The hospitals have committed $1 million a week through August on advertising, according to the Times.
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