The deal would require about $900 billion in cuts over 10 years—only a total of about $10 billion this year and next year—and for a special congressional panel to come up with another roughly $1.4 trillion in cuts over 10 years.
Congressional leaders said those cuts will not come from Medicaid or from Medicare beneficiaries but left open the possibility of cuts to provider reimbursements.
“Despite what some in my own party have argued, I believe that we need to make some modest adjustments to programs like Medicare to ensure that they're still around for future generations,” Obama said in a brief announcement Sunday night.
Provider advocates noted Monday that any reimbursement cuts through the debt deal will come in addition to a range of other cuts providers are already facing in both Medicare and Medicaid.
“Medicare and Medicaid funding for hospital care will be under threat for some time,” Richard Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association, noted on the group's website.
Martin Arrick, Standard & Poor's managing director for not-for-profit healthcare, said without details of the debt-ceiling agreement, it's not clear how the deal will affect healthcare spending. Nonetheless, hospitals already expect to be paid less in coming years under provisions of the 2010 healthcare reform law. “That's the baseline,” Arrick said. Any cuts as a result of the debt-ceiling compromise would add to those reductions, he said.