Presidents Bush fiscal 2009 budget proposal for HHS will include $183 billion in cuts to the Medicare program and $17 billion in cuts to Medicaid over the next five years, according to CMS budget documents.
Hospital and other provider payments account for a sizable portion of these cuts. The presidents Medicare proposal would cut inpatient hospital payments by nearly $4 billion in fiscal 2009 alone and $64 billion over five years. During that time frame, outpatient payments would be cut by $580 million this coming fiscal year, and by $6 billion over five years.
Overall, the budget request would freeze payments for hospitals, skilled-nursing facilities, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, hospice facilities and long-term-care hospitals from 2009 through 2011. While Medicaid would be cut, spending to support reauthorization of the State Childrens Health Insurance Program under this proposal would increase by $2 billion in fiscal 2009 and by nearly $19 billion over five years.
An analysis prepared by the White House Office of Management and Budget said actions need to be taken to slow Medicare spending and bring it back in line with thresholds established by the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003.
This misguided budget would dismantle health programs that millions of patients and families depend on. ... Americas hospitals strongly oppose this budget and urge Congress to reject it, said Richard Pollack, executive vice president of the American Hospital Association. -- by Jennifer Lubell
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