Strong bipartisan cooperation in Congress led the U.S. House of Representatives to pass a budget bill on Wednesday that averts a federal government shutdown, and retains spending cuts put into place by the Budget Control Act of 2011, commonly known as the sequester, or sequestration, set to include 2-percent Medicare provider payment cuts. The bill now heads to the U.S. Senate.
The measure, approved by a vote of 266 to 167, with 79 Republicans joining 187 Democrats in favor, “averts a potentially devastating default by lifting the federal borrowing limit through March 2017, and it sharply reduces the risk of a government shutdown by setting clear spending targets for the next two years,” according to a report Wednesday evening in The New York Times by David M. Herszenhorn.
As a report by Kelsey Snell in The Washington Post noted, “The agreement would essentially end the often contentious budget battles between congressional Republicans and President Obama by pushing the next round of fiscal decision making past the 2016 election when there will be a new Congress and White House occupant. House Republican leaders, the Post’s report noted, “unveiled the proposal earlier this week and immediately faced challenges from conservatives upset over both the secretive negotiations that led to the agreement as well as the policies contained in the bill.”
According to a summary in The Times, “There will be about $30 billion in savings from Medicare, about $7 billion of that from equalizing payments to hospitals and other medical service providers.”
“The plan retains spending cuts known as sequestration under the Budget Control Act of 2011, and limits future payment rates for hospitals that set up or buy off-campus facilities, the Post’s article noted. That report also noted that “The agreement would essentially end the often contentious budget battles between congressional Republicans and President Obama by pushing the next round of fiscal decision making past the 2016 election when there will be a new Congress and White House occupant.”
Healthcare Informatics will continue to update readers on this developing story.