Will a one-month delay in the Medicare component of a looming package of debt-related cuts give hospitals time to avoid the budget ax? Some healthcare provider advocates say it might.
The key to breaking an ideological faceoff between the Obama administration and congressional Republicans and finding an alternative to $1.2 trillion in 10-year cuts scheduled to begin Friday is the force of public opinion, said public policy experts. Despite a steady drumbeat of dire warnings from impacted industries and liberal advocacy groups about negative consequences, the looming cuts known as the sequester have generated little interest from the general public. But that could change when the cuts begin and people see concrete impacts in their lives.
By a quirk of the sequester's rules, the 2% cut to Medicare providers and insurers will not begin until April 1. That lag from the bulk of the sequester's cuts could give Medicare providers time to benefit from a surge in public outrage as the early cuts go into effect driving a quick sequester-ending deal, according to some provider advocates.