766,000 is a BIG number and it’s the number of jobs that might be lost in health care if something isn’t done about the 2% sequester of Medicare spending that goes into effect on January 1, 2013.
The 2% reduction in Medicare reimbursement is mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011 as a part of the agreement to raise the debt ceiling. If you remember a bipartisan “Super Committee” was appointed to create a balanced budget. The bipartisan committee failed to act in a bipartisan manner in the allowable time frame and because of their inability to get past party politics automated cuts to Medicare and Defense are set to occur on January 1, 2013. We’re not talking little cuts either the cuts equal $1.2 TRILLION!
Congress has the ability to do something about the cuts if they can reach an agreement by January 1 but history tells us we shouldn’t hold our breath or hold out hope for a cure. It is an election year and there may be some impetus to avoid the automated cuts as congressional leaders are trying to entice voters.
On top of the impending 2% reduction in Medicare reimbursement across the board physicians are in a worse spot because Medicare physician payments are slated to be cut by 27% on January 1, 2013 under the sustainable growth rate formula. Last year Congress had an opportunity to fix the formula but instead extended it through 2012 because they cold not reach an agreement.
The health care sector has been one of the few bright spots for job growth in recent years and in August alone health care accounted for 96,000 new jobs, 17.3% of the total new jobs created that month.
Congress can only push deadlines and ignore issues for so long and at some point partisan policy will need to be replaced with the common good otherwise health care in the U.S. is going to be really sick and might elect for a “No Code” status.