Obama's deficit plan includes $320B Medicare, Medicaid cuts

President Obama's ambitious deficit reduction proposal would include significant cuts to the Medicare program, report the New York Times and Kaiser Health News.

The proposal would include a $248 billion cut to Medicare and a $72 billion reduction to Medicaid over a decade. Among those Medicare payments on the cutting board would include an end to add-on payments to doctors and hospitals in low-population states, additional payments to erase bad debts, and a tightening of the eligibility for the Critical Access Hospital designation. In the Medicaid program, cuts would include reductions in the Medicaid provider threshold tax, reductions in payments for durable medical equipment, and reductions to the disproportionate share hospital program.

Medicare enrollees would also see their costs rise. For example, those receiving home health services would make a $100 co-payment beginning in 2017. Deductibles for Medicare Part B would also go up, as well premiums for high-end Medigap policies.

The potential cuts to Medicare and Medicaid payments are part of a wide-ranging plan proposed by the President to reduce the deficit by more than $3 trillion over the next decade. The plan includes cuts to other federal programs and higher taxes on wealthier Americans.

"If you look at the details of what's in the plan that the president is sending to the Congress, there is a lot of pain, and it's spread--it's spread broadly and we think fairly," said Jacob Lew, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, notes the Times.

For more information:
- read the New York Times article
- read the Becker's Hospital Review article
- read the Kaiser Health News article

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