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Dead­lock leaves in­dus­try anx­ious

Modern Healthcare - - NEWS - Jes­sica Zig­mond

Su­per­com­mit­tee dead­lock raises anx­i­ety for providers, docs and pay­ers

With­out de­tails, the health­care in­dus­try con­tin­ued to be at a height­ened state of anx­i­ety as the con­gres­sional deficit-re­duc­tion panel re­mained dead­locked head­ing to­ward its dead­line this week. Providers, physi­cians and pay­ers were wait­ing to see what—if any— plan the Joint Se­lect Com­mit­tee on Deficit Re­duc­tion would de­velop be­fore its Nov. 23 dead­line to iden­tify at least $1.2 tril­lion in cuts over 10 years. If the com­mit­tee fails to iden­tify these cuts, then the so-called “trig­ger,” or se­ques­tra­tion, will kick in, and Medi­care providers will face a 2% re­duc­tion in pay­ments start­ing in 2013.

Fitch Rat­ings is­sued a re­port at­tempt­ing to project the fall­out in the health­care in­dus­try, es­ti­mat­ing that a 2% Medi­care cut would cause not-for-profit hos­pi­tal op­er­at­ing mar­gins to drop by roughly 29%, on av­er­age, with the caveat that the anal­y­sis doesn’t re­flect any costre­duc­tion mea­sures hos­pi­tals might take in re­sponse.

GETTY IM­AGES

A rally, above, on Capi­tol Hill urged the re­jec­tion of cuts as the su­per­com­mit­tee moved to­ward its deficit-cut dead­line this week.

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