MEDICARE: Nonbinding Resolution Calls For Deep Cuts
The House Budget Committee voted last week in favor of a resolution to cut "$12.5 billion from projected Medicare payments and $2 billion from Medicaid over the next five years," Modern Healthcare reports. The reductions would be on top of cuts passed in last year's balanced budget law, which slashed Medicare spending by $115 billion over five years. However, the cuts "may wind up being a political statement" rather than policy because neither the White House nor the Senate has "expressed interest" in incorporating the cuts into formal budget law. Nevertheless, hospital groups are working to kill the Medicare cuts, arguing that the latest reductions "set a bad precedent" given the wave of cuts enacted in last year. Roughly $10 billion of the total $12.5 billion would be cut from providers, and the remaining $2.5 billion taken from the Medicare administrative budget. The committee approved one amendment, sponsored by Rep. Robert Weygand (D-RI), that called for "unspecified changes" to Medicare's existing home health care reimbursement system. The industry has complained that an interim system to be used until Oct. 1, 1999, pays higher rates to inefficient providers (Weissenstein, 5/25 issue).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.