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Blog: More budget battles coming fast

Healthcare providers still weary from the most recent drawn-out budget battle in Washington could have the next fiscal fight on their hands sooner than they think.

Experts have warned that it's the next round of deficit-reduction negotiations that the healthcare industry should be worried about, and it could hit providers in a couple of ways. Federal lawmakers must tackle the sequester, the automatic spending cuts that Congress postponed for two months in last week's fiscal-cliff legislation. (Medicare providers would not have seen their cuts kick in until early February, according to the Congressional Budget Office).Congress must also pass legislation to fund the federal government for the remainder of 2013 after a continuing resolution expires on March 27. And then there is the upcoming debate to raise the nation's debt ceiling, which the Bipartisan Policy Center announced Monday could come earlier than the anticipated early March deadline—leaving healthcare interest groups little time to re-load as they lobby Congress to spare them additional reimbursement cuts.

“Our numbers show that we have less time to solve this problem than many realize,” Steve Bell, senior director of the Economic Policy Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center, said in a news release. “We estimate that Treasury will exhaust its borrowing authority and no longer have sufficient funds to meet its obligations in full and on time at some point between Feb. 15 and March 1,” he continued. “It will be difficult for Treasury to get beyond the March 1 date in our judgment.”

To read through the BPC analysis, click here.

Which fiscal fight concerns you and your organization the most: the debt-ceiling, the sequester, or the continuing resolution? Please let me know at jzigmond@modernhealthcare.com.

You can follow Jessica on Twitter @MHJZigmond.
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