Debt 'supercommittee' will have big influence over healthcare spending

The bi-partisan "supercommittee" tasked with slashing at least $1.22 trillion from the national budget over the next 10 years is almost complete. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has until Aug. 16 to choose the remaining three members. Failure to reach agreement by Thanksgiving would prompt automatic cuts to programs including Medicare and Medicaid.

The nearly all-male Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction includes committee co-chair Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R- Texas), co-chair Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Sen. Jon Kyl  (R-Ariz.), Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Sen. Max Baucus (D- Mont.), Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), and Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), CNN Money reports.

The committee, which essentially controls the fate of Medicare and Medicaid, includes some healthcare industry defenders.

Democratic committee member Baucus opposed plans to privatize Medicare for future retirees. And committee co-chair Murray has been a longtime supporter of Medicare, Social Security and veterans' benefits, according to the Associated Press. Meanwhile, committee member Camp, a Republican, voted against Obama's recent debt ceiling deal, saying it failed to address rising healthcare costs, notes CNN Money.

With future Medicare and Medicaid cuts still a viable possibility, healthcare leaders must find ways to cut costs or acquire much-needed funds without sacrificing care.

To learn more:
- read the CNN Money article
- read the Associated Press article