Friday, September 2, 2011

Joint Committee Getting To Work

A very quiet day as Congress gets back to work.

Congress Returning, Seeking Consensus On 'Super Committee':  "With the summer recess ending, Jackie Judd talks to KHN’s Mary Agnes Carey about the staffing and makeup of the deficit panel and what to expect in the coming months. The 'super committee' may take a closer look reining Medicare costs in through reforming Medigap plans and provider payments to cut the deficit."

From the discussion, "There will be a close look at Medicare, I think.  You have had several panels over the last year talk about things like, should we increase the eligibility age over time for Medicare?  Should we look at the deductible for Part A and Part B and combine them into one?  Should we make changes in Medigap, the supplemental insurance in Medicare?  Should we change provider payments?  You’re already seeing advertising campaigns from home health and from hospitals and other sectors of Medicare providers.  Should they look at those?  Of course, the providers don’t want any more cuts."

As we've noted before, "Health care groups, nervous about the debt deal’s 'super committee' deliberations that begin next week, are likely to fare far better under a series of automatic cuts than any agreement the panel may reach.  At least that’s the opinion of Washington insider Christopher Jennings, a former Clinton administration health care adviser."

Also, "Doctors and hospitals also believe that the panel could well produce more extensive Medicare cuts beyond the  $130 billion to $150 billion that would be cut through the fallback plan.  Some liberals have been thinking that the across-the-board 2 percent cut in the growth of Medicare spending may be the lesser of two evils."

The Republican Accountability-Free Zone


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