Democrats Rush to Exempt Medicare from Budget Cuts

Democrats have introduced legislation to protect Medicare from sequestration following the “Supercommittee’s” failure to agree on a deficit reduction plan, which triggered automatic cuts of 2% to nearly all government programs.

H.R. 3519, introduced on Nov. 29, was sponsored by Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) and seeks to exempt the Medicare program from fallback sequestration under the Budget Control Act of 2011. It is currently in its first step to the legislative process and has been referred to the House Committee.

The proposal currently has eight co-sponsors, all Democrats, and looks to amend Section 251A of the the budget act by:

Advertisement

(1) striking “except that the percentage reduction for the Medicare programs specified in section 256(d) shall not be more than 2 percent for a fiscal year” and inserting “except that there shall be no reduction for the Medicare programs specified in section 256(d)”; and

(2) striking “the percentage reduction for the Medicare programs would exceed 2 percent for a fiscal year in the absence of paragraph (8)” and inserting “there would be a percentage reduction for the Medicare programs for a fiscal year in the absence of paragraph (8)”.

If passed, Medicare would join Medicaid and Social Security in being exempt from the automatic cuts. Healthcare providers have expressed concern that a further reduction in addition to the previously announced 11.1% cut to reimbursements would negatively impact seniors’ access to quality care.

Advertisement

View H.R. 3519 here.

Written by Alyssa Gerace

Recommended SHN+ Exclusives