Remember a few weeks ago when the government almost shut down. If not for a last-minute compromise to identify a “Super Committee” charged with identifying spending cuts who knows where we’d be right now.
Congress’ Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction must reach a compromise on spending cuts by November 23, if not, automatic cuts are triggered and Medicare could be cut by up to 2%.
A recent study by Tripp Umbach, a firm specializing in economic impact studies, estimates that a 2% cut in Medicare could lead to the loss of 194,522 hospital and related jobs. In an otherwise gloomy employment market, hospital employment has been a bright spot. A reduction of 194,522 hospital jobs would not only contribute to an already flailing economy, it would significantly reduce necessary and needed services provided by hospitals across the country – services provided to some of our most vulnerable neighbors.
The “Super Committee” has a large task at hand and congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle aren’t known for their ability to play nice in the sandbox but compromise will be important.
Let’s hope that as Congress looks for ways to trim the deficit they take a page out of the health care playbook and “first, do no harm”. We should all do what we can to urge Congress to reject cuts to hospitals that would devastate local economies and the provision of services to those that need them most. We must get governmental spending under control but not at the expense of our most vulnerable friends and neighbors.