Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

SGR Cuts Loom after Supercommittee Fails

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

SGR Cuts Loom after Supercommittee Fails

Article excerpt

The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction failed to produce a plan to cut federal spending, triggering a process slated to cut physician pay and a host of public health programs beginning in 2013. It also leaves physicians facing a 27% Medicare pay cut in January.

On Nov. 21, just hours before the midnight deadline for the so-called super-committee to publicly announce a deficit-reduction plan, the cochairs of the committee issued a statement saying that they could not reach a bipartisan agreement.

"Despite our inability to bridge the committee's significant differences, we end this process united in our belief that the nation's fiscal crisis must be addressed and that we cannot leave it to the next generation to solve. We remain hopeful that Congress can build on this committee's work and can find a way to tackle this issue in a way that works for the American people and our economy," according to the statement from Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.).

The bipartisan, bicameral committee of 12 lawmakers was convened last summer as part of the Budget Control Act and tasked with finding about $1.2 trillion in cuts to federal spending over a decade. Under the law, should the super committee fail to agree on how to meet that goal, automatic, across-the-board cuts called "sequestration" go into effect starting in 2013.

The cuts would be evenly divided among defense and nondefense spending. Most federal programs are subject to the cuts, except Social Security, Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program, and other low-income programs. The Medicare program is spared some of the deepest cuts since the law calls only for provider cuts, which are capped at 2%.

Physicians' groups expressed disappointment that several weeks of hearings and closed-door meetings had not resulted in a plan. The automatic cuts would endanger everything from military health care, medical research, and disease prevention programs to the training of primary care physicians, Dr. …

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