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The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

BusinessWeek Notices ‘Obamacare’s Surprise Medicare Cut’



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A few weeks ago, I wrote about HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s decision to cut the maximum amount she could from Medicare’s payments for home health-care services. The short version:

Sebelius cut the maximum permitted by law, 3.5 percent, and declared HHS would do the same for the next three years.

As Angle’s report: noted, “The cuts were deep enough that officials offered a damaging prediction of the impact saying, it was estimated that approximately 40 percent of providers would have negative margins.”

“Negative margins” is another term for losing money. And businesses that lose money either go kaput or lay off workers. Forty percent of the firms in the industry adds up to roughly a half-million jobs. That doesn’t mean that 500,000 home health-care workers will be fired tomorrow, but it does mean that they’re at serious risk for layoffs in the next three years.

So we’re talking about a massive job-killer in a field dedicated to treating the health problems of the elderly. Keep in mind the National Association for Home Care and Hospice forecasts much worse consequences for these cuts, projecting that the reductions will likely render three-quarters of all industry operators unable to run profitably by 2017.

So here we have an administration that plays the “Mediscare” card as well as anyone, making big cuts to care for the elderly and hoping no one notices.

The good folks at BusinessWeek have caught up, and offer a headline that I’ll bet you’ll see in GOP attack ads this year:

Democrats can insist that Obamacare won’t be an epic liability in the midterm elections, but one wonders if they’ve accounted for millions of dollars in attack ads declaring that Obamacare cut Medicare and left providers of home health care “stunned.” How long until we see an ad depicting a Sebelius look-alike tossing Granny off a cliff?


Tags: Obamacare , Medicare , Kathleen Sebelius


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