2014 Government Budget Debates: Potential Impact on Healthcare Providers

The House of Representatives will vote today on a new two-year budget plan that would extend sequestration cuts through 2023.

The budget was formed by a 29-member bipartisan panel led by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). The budget includes $28 billion in spending cuts over the next decade by requiring the president to maintain sequestration cuts in 2022 and 2023, maintaining the reductions at the same percentage of budgetary resources that will be cut in 2021 in accordance with current law. The budget would also avoid a goverment shutdown scheduled for January 2014.

Some in the healthcare industry are against the plan because it maintains and extends the arbitrary Medicare sequester cuts and could reduce access to care for Medicare beneficiaries for $28 billion in deficit savings, according to a report in The Hill.

However, some organizations, such as the Association of American Medical Colleges, would support the deal as a "good first step," because it would cancel $63 billion worth of sequester cuts to defense and discretionary spending over the next two years, according to The Hill. These funds could restore some government funding for medical education programs and medical research.

Whether the budget will pass the House is still questionable, though recent reports expect it to pass. Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are choosing whether to support the budget deal or not — which is a compromise for both groups, according to USA Today. The more conservative wing of the Republican Party has been vocally opposed to the budget.

If the budget passes the House, it would move on to the Senate. Even if the budget passes, organizations including the Federation of American Hospitals said they would lobby to reverse the budget next year, according to The Hill.

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