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NYT:Administration Offers Health Care Cuts as Part of Budget Negotiations


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Obama administration officials are offering to cut tens of billions of dollars from Medicare and Medicaid in negotiations to reduce the federal budget deficit, but the depth of the cuts depends on whether Republicans are willing to accept any increases in tax revenues.

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Administration officials and Republican negotiators say the money can be taken from health care providers like hospitals and nursing homes without directly imposing new costs on needy beneficiaries or radically restructuring either program.

Before the talks led by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. broke off 12 days ago, negotiators said, they had reached substantial agreement on many cuts in the growth of Medicare, which provides care to people 65 and older, and Medicaid, which covers lower-income people. Those proposals are still on the table when Congress reconvenes this week, aides said, and are serious options that Democrats could accept in exchange for Republican concessions that raise revenues.

“Congress smells blood,” said William L. Minnix Jr., the chief lobbyist for nonprofit nursing homes.

Mr. Minnix, the president of a trade group known as LeadingAge, is urging nursing homes to “bombard your senators with the message that Medicaid cannot be cut by $100 billion” over 10 years, as President Obama and many Republican lawmakers have suggested.

Medicare and Medicaid insure more than 100 million people, account for 23 percent of all federal spending and are likely to be an important part of any budget deal. Military spending, which accounts for about 20 percent of federal expenditures, is likely to be included as well.

Most Republicans have ruled out tax rate increases to reduce the deficit. Mr. Obama has rejected the idea of Medicare vouchers, Medicaid block grants or any rollback of the new health care law. But he and the Republicans say they still hope to find some common ground.

Mr. Obama has embraced the goal of reducing deficits by a total of $4 trillion over 12 years — an ambitious goal that suggests the size of any grand bargain.

While details have yet to be decided, lawmakers and administration officials said they were seriously considering these proposals:

¶ Gradually eliminate Medicare payments to hospitals for bad debts that result when beneficiaries fail to pay deductibles and co-payments. Medicare reimburses hospitals for 70 percent of such debts after the hospitals make reasonable efforts to collect the unpaid amounts.

¶ Reduce Medicare payments to teaching hospitals for the costs of training doctors, caring for sicker patients and providing specialized services like trauma care and organ transplants. Medicare spends $9.5 billion a year for its share of those costs.

¶ Reduce the federal share of payments to health care providers treating low-income people under Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The administration wants to establish a single “blended rate” for each state. The federal government now reimburses states at different rates for different groups of people and different services in the two programs.

Representative Henry A. Waxman of California, the senior Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee and an architect of Medicaid, said he was “very concerned” that this proposal would reduce the federal contribution to Medicaid and shift costs to states.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/05/us/05deficit.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&hp

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You want to fix unemployment and help the budget at the same time? Pass the "Up retirement age from 65-70" law... 65 year olds will be retiring at an alarming rate and will create vacancies in industries... That might just be the beer talking...

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Just skimming: They all seem like bad ideas.

No longer reimburse when your members will not pay, but require they get treatment again?

When Universal Care finally arrives it'll be good to see the Companies drop people and the Gov't cut services. Good Times, Good Times.

Hopefully it won't be illegal to spend extra money and get better care.

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I feel both of ES's knees jerking....

Left knee: Oh, so now you want to cut every single payment for sick people, old people, and hospitals? Why don't you just provide suicide booths for anyone who needs medical attention?

Right knee: You're right. Let's just get more money from the money tree to pay for everyone who comes down with a case of the sniffles. And by "money tree," I mean John Rumplestein, who owns a small business that manufactures American flags.

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I feel both of ES's knees jerking....

Left knee: Oh, so now you want to cut every single payment for sick people, old people, and hospitals? Why don't you just provide suicide booths for anyone who needs medical attention?

Right knee: You're right. Let's just get more money from the money tree to pay for everyone who comes down with a case of the sniffles. And by "money tree," I mean John Rumplestein, who owns a small business that manufactures American flags.

Isn't it a good negotiation when neither side leaves happy? :silly:

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Just skimming: They all seem like bad ideas.

No longer reimburse when your members will not pay, but require they get treatment again?

When Universal Care finally arrives it'll be good to see the Companies drop people and the Gov't cut services. Good Times, Good Times.

Hopefully it won't be illegal to spend extra money and get better care.

Except unviersal tends to cut the cost allowing business more money to hire people and becasuse people then spend less on health care they have more to spend thus creating more demand and creating more jobs

---------- Post added July-5th-2011 at 08:42 AM ----------

I feel both of ES's knees jerking....

Left knee: Oh, so now you want to cut every single payment for sick people, old people, and hospitals? Why don't you just provide suicide booths for anyone who needs medical attention?

Right knee: You're right. Let's just get more money from the money tree to pay for everyone who comes down with a case of the sniffles. And by "money tree," I mean John Rumplestein, who owns a small business that manufactures American flags.

Did not the rght knee cry death panels for the last two years?

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