The debt ceiling has been raised. What’s it mean for health care?

Congress will be appointing a 12 member bipartisan panel to identify opportunities to reduce governmental spending.  You’ll probably hear things like “reducing Medicare cost” through the process.  Let me translate: “reducing Medicare cost”=reducing payments to providers.

The 12 member panel is charged with trimming 1.2 trillion in federal spending over the next decade.  If the panel can’t come up with enough savings, automatic cuts go into effect and Medicare is one of the programs that’s on the chopping block.

My guess is cuts will target providers and hospitals and beneficiaries will be untouched.  Afterall, what congress person in their right mind wants to upset Medicare beneficiaries the year before an election. 

Those of us who work in the health care industry, especially the hospital sector, recognize how slim Medicare margins are and how difficult it is to make ends meet at current reimbursement levels.  In a hospital like GVMH, Medicare is our life’s blood.  The payments we get from Medicare keep the lights on and the doors open.  Medicare also represents the bulk of the patients we serve and make well every day.

There’s no doubt congress needs to reign in spending and fix entitlement programs, let’s just hope they don’t do so at the expense of rural hospitals like ours.  I’m an optimistic person by nature but I’m also a realist and realistically I predict there are significant reductions in reimbursement in the near future…

About Craig Thompson

I am a young professional with two great sons, and I work in the healthcare setting. I am employed in hospital administration and serve as Chief Executive Officer at Golden Valley Memorial Healthcare in Clinton, Missouri. At GVMH we care for our families, friends and neighbors. We're committed to providing the safest, friendliest and most compassionate care to all we serve.
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