Health Care and the Super Committee – The Cost of Failure

Joe Paduda

Posted 11/18/11 on Managed Care Matters

The chances that the Congressional Super-Committee will achieve its stated goal of cutting $1.5 trillion from federal expenditures over the next decade are fading fast.

What happens when the six Republicans and six Democrats can’t agree on cuts?

Big – really big – increases in costs for health plans and workers comp payers. I’ll get to that in a minute, but first let’s walk thru what happens if the Supers can’t agree.

Theoretically automatic, almost-across-the-board cuts in military, entitlement program, and ongoing operational budgets go into effect 1/1/2013.

Don’t bet on it.

The threat of across-the-board cuts was supposed to motivate/force the Supers to hammer out their differences and get to a solution. All reports indicate that isn’t going to happen, as the Republicans refuse to contemplate any form of tax increases and Democrats, who believe they’ve given enough on the entitlement side, refuse to go further unless the GOP budges on taxes.

The looming threat of across the board cuts has become a good deal less likely to happen as politicians on both sides acknowledge that the threat is just that – a threat – and not much more. As with any bill passed by Congress, the threat can be overturned when/if Congress passes another bill overturning the original law.

That’s probably what the GOP members are banking on. If they are able to maintain control of the House, take over the majority in the Senate, and win the Presidency in next fall’s elections (a distinct possibility), Republicans will be able to do what they wish. I’d expect immediate action to rescind cuts in military spending, extend the Bush tax cuts for top earners, and slash entitlement spending.

Continue reading “Health Care and the Super Committee – The Cost of Failure”

The Health Leadership Council Medicare Proposal: Too Much Responsibility on Beneficiaries and Not Enough on Providers

Robert Laszewski

First posted 9/27/11 on Health Policy and Marketplace Review

The Health Leadership Council (HLC), a coalition of CEOs from many of the leading health care companies, has created a list of Medicare reform recommendations for the Super Committee tasked with finding at least $1.2 trillion in budget savings.

As we begin the national debate over what to do about Medicare’s unsustainable costs, I will suggest that the HLC proposal gives us one, of what will have to be many, outlines for discussion.
Continue reading “The Health Leadership Council Medicare Proposal: Too Much Responsibility on Beneficiaries and Not Enough on Providers”