Safety net providers wary about Medicaid’s place in debt talks (Modern Healthcare)

November 10, 2012 – As Congress and the White House brace for intense deficit-reduction negotiations, the nation’s safety net providers are anxious about what changes might be in store for Medicaid. On Friday, House Speaker John Boehner said lawmakers must consider revenue and spending in their attempt to reach a grand bargain on reducing the nation’s federal deficit. A few hours later, President Barack Obama said the plan he highlighted during his re-election campaign calls for lowering the deficit in a “balanced and responsible way.” “Last year, I worked with Democrats and Republicans to cut a trillion dollars’ worth of spending that we just couldn’t afford,” the president said in his remarks. “I intend to work with both parties to do more—and that includes making reforms that will bring down the cost of healthcare so we can strengthen programs like Medicaid and Medicare for the long haul.” Although the Medicaid program is exempted from the automatic spending cuts scheduled for next year through sequestration, the nation’s safety net hospitals are worried that Medicaid might take a hit down the road, especially if lawmakers avert sequestration with a short-term fix.

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