The first Senate Democratic budget proposal in four years would cut federal healthcare spending by $275 billion over 10 years.
The spending blueprint offered by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chairman of the Budget Committee, would reduce—but not eliminate—annual deficits through an even combination of tax increases and spending cuts.
The healthcare cuts—for which few details were provided—were part of $975 billion in overall cuts the budget would implement over the coming decade. Murray's budget specified only that it would derive the savings through accelerating provisions that tie provider reimbursements to patient outcomes, reducing waste and fraud, and encouraging greater provider “engagement.”
“There are no sacred cows,” Murray said at a Wednesday hearing. “We put everything we can on the table but we do it in a responsible way that preserves, protects and strengthens the programs like Medicare and Medicaid that the American people strongly support.”
Murray's budget would eliminate the Medicare physician payment system that is slated to cut pay rates at the end of the year. However, it did not specify what would replace the sustainable growth-rate formula.