According to one source, the hospitals were directed to find cuts that could be "scoreable," in other words tangible enough to get a price tag from the Congressional Budget Office. Widespread speculation among Washington lobbyists was that the dollar amount could reach up to $220 billion over the next 10 years.
Any amount that high would almost certainly mean Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement cuts, something hospitals have been leery of since serious health reform negotiations started.
The directive from the committee comes on the heels of a recent announcement by the hospital, physician and payer communities to voluntarily undertake cost-cutting measures in a broad effort to slow the cost growth curve in the healthcare sector. Committee staffers so far have asked the hospitals to identify where the cuts should come from, with a deadline to report back in the next several days.
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