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Health Care on the Brink of the Fiscal Cliff

Friday, November 16, 2012

As Washington attempts to steer clear of the “fiscal cliff,” it is important that policymakers, stakeholders and the public have a clear understanding of the components of this key policy crossroads and the likely consequences of inaction – on everything from expiring tax cuts to debt ceiling increases to scheduled budget reductions. The goal of a Nov. 16 briefing was to foster that understanding.

The briefing placed particular emphasis on the implications for health programs and the health care industry. Automatic cuts would not apply to Medicaid, but Medicare providers would experience 2 percent payment cuts. The reductions would likely be larger for discretionary health programs, such as those funded as part of the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

A distinguished group of panelists offered insight into these and related issues:

Stan Collender, who worked for both the House and Senate budget committees, and now writes a fiscal column for Roll Call, provided an overview of the fiscal cliff, including the impact of various pieces of legislation.

Lisa Potetz, a health care consultant with decades of experience on Capitol Hill, at the Congressional Budget Office and at the American Hospital Association, highlighted the impact of going over the fiscal cliff on the Medicare program.

Tim Westmoreland, a Georgetown University law professor who spent decades working on Medicaid, welfare, AIDS policy and budget issues, both on and off Capitol Hill, addressed the potential impact of inaction on discretionary health care programs.

G. William Hoagland, a senior vice president at the Bipartisan Policy Center who for decades led budget staff in Congress, assessed the impact of going over the fiscal cliff on the economy. How would it affect the budget deficit? Jobs? The overall health care system?

Ed Howard of the Alliance and Diane Rowland of the Kaiser Family Foundation moderated the discussion.

This forum took place from 12:15 to 2:00 p.m. on Friday, November 16, at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room G50.

The event was sponsored by the nonpartisan Alliance for Health Reform and the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Contact: Marilyn Werber Serafini 202/789-2300


 Ed Howard , The Alliance for Health Reform , Moderator
 Diane Rowland, The Kaiser Family Foundation, Moderator
 Stan Collender, Qorvis Communications, Speaker
 Liza Potetz, Health Policy Alternatives, Inc, Speaker
 Tim Westmoreland, Georgetown University, Speaker
 G. William Hoagland, The Bipartisan Policy Center, Speaker
(Click on the camera icon to see a video of the speaker's presentation.)

Transcript, Event Summary and/or Webcast and Podcast

Transcript: Health Care on the Brink of the Fiscal Cliff (Adobe Acrobat PDF), 11/16/2012
Full Webcast/Podcast: Webcast Link

The full webcast and podcast for this briefing, as well as videos of individual speakers' presentations, are provided by Kaiser Family Foundation.

Speaker Presentations

Collender Presentation (Adobe Acrobat PDF), 11/16/2012
Potetz Presentation (Adobe Acrobat PDF), 11/16/2012
Westmoreland Presentation (Adobe Acrobat PDF), 11/16/2012
Hoagland Presentation (Adobe Acrobat PDF), 11/16/2012

(If you want to download one or more slides from these presentations, contact us at info@allhealth or click here for instructions.)

Source Materials

Agenda (Adobe Acrobat PDF), , 11/16/2012
Speaker Biographies (Adobe Acrobat PDF), , 11/16/2012
Selected Experts (Adobe Acrobat PDF), , 11/16/2012
Materials list (Adobe Acrobat PDF), , 11/16/2012

Offsite Materials (briefing documents saved on other websites)

Breaking Down the Sequester (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Bipartisan Policy Center, 9/1/2012
The Encroaching Fiscal Cliff:Health Care Edition, American Enterprise Institute, 9/17/2012
Automatic Budget Cuts Will Reduce Medicare Payments to Doctors, Providers by $11 Billion, Kaiser Health News, 9/14/2012
Comparison of Medicaid Provisions in Deficit-Reduction Proposals (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Kaiser Family Foundation, 4/1/2011
Economic Effects of Policies Contributing to Fiscal Tightening in 2013, Congressional Budget Office, 11/1/2012
Economic Effects of Reducing the Fiscal Restraint tat is Scheduled to Occur in 2013, Congressional Budget Office, 5/22/2012
FDA Drug Review Set to Unravel as Fiscal Cliff Looms, Bloomberg, 9/10/2012
Massive Job Losses Expected Under Medicare Sequester, American Medical News, 9/24/2012
Fiscal Cliff Timeline (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Bipartisan Policy Center, 11/1/2012
Medicare at a Glance (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Kaiser Family Foundation, 11/14/2012
Medicare Spending and Financing (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Kaiser Family Foundation, 11/14/2012
Middle Class Faces Quick Impact from Fiscal Cliff in Form of Alternative Minimum Tax, The Washington Post, 11/5/2012
CBO Releases Cost Estimates of Next Doctor Payment Patch, CQ HealthBeat, 7/31/2012
The Budget Control Act of 2011: Implications for Medicare (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Kaiser Family Foundation, 11/14/2012
The Medicaid Program at a Glance (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Kaiser Family Foundation, 9/1/2012
September Sequester Surprise? Impact of the OMB Sequester Report of FDA User Fees, Faegre Baker Daniels, 9/14/2012
Framework for a Grand Bargain to Avoid the 'Fiscal Cliff' (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Bipartisan Policy Center, 10/18/2012
Are Low-Income Programs Enlarging the Nation's Long-Term Fiscal Problem? Programs Outside Health Care Projected to Decline as Share of Economy, Center of Budget and Policy Priorities, 11/2/2012
Sequestration Could Have Wide-Reaching Implications for Medical Schools, Teaching Hospitals, Association of American Medical Colleges, 10/1/2012
OMB Report Pursuat to the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-155) (Adobe Acrobat PDF),Office of Management and Budget, 9/1/2012


Georgetown law professor Tim Westmoreland said that automatic budget cuts, under certain assumptions, could mean spending reductions of $11 billion for Medicare, $2.5 billion for NIH, $500 million for the CDC, and $300 million for the FDA at a Nov. 16 Alliance briefing, Health Care on the Brink of the Fiscal Cliff. (Photo by James Ryder)

Automatic budget cuts in 2013 would save the federal government $11.6 billion in Medicare spending that year, according to the Office of Management and Budget, and $99.3 billion over nine years, according to the Congressional Budget Office, Lisa Potetz of Health Policy Alternatives said at a Nov. 16 briefing, Health Care on the Brink of the Fiscal Cliff. (Photo by James Ryder).

The economic damages of inaction - stopping the fiscal cliff changes - generally wouldn't be seen unless the policies stayed in effect for all of 2013, Stan Collender of Qorvis Communications said at a Nov. 16 briefing, Health Care on the Brink of the Fiscal Cliff. (Photo by James Ryder).

If automatic spending cuts take effect next year, they will come on top of the approximate 27 percent Medicare pay cuts scheduled for physicians, unless Congress steps in, Bill Hoagland of the Bipartisan Policy Center said at a Nov. 16 briefing, Health Care on the Brink of the Fiscal Cliff. (Photo by James Ryder)





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