Illinois hospitals’ new fear: the cliff (Crain’s Chicago Business)

November 8, 2012 – With barely any time to relax after President Barack Obama’s re-election, Illinois health care providers now must confront looming Medicare cuts of $1.75 billion over the next decade. Slashing the health care program for the elderly and disabled is a key part of the “fiscal cliff,” the automatic spending reductions and tax hikes set to start in January if Congress and the Obama administration don’t agree on how to chop more than $1 trillion from the massive federal budget deficit. Without a budget deal, many physicians would also be hurt by the expiration of Bush-era tax breaks and the separate imposition of steep, long-delayed reductions to doctors’ Medicare fees. For beleaguered health care providers, the cuts come on top of the Obama administration’s overhaul of health care. The landmark law, which is already increasing hospital spending to comply with new federal regulations, is intended to slow the growth of reimbursement rates paid by private insurance carriers as well as government programs.

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