Medicare and Medicaid will be spared from the first round of cuts in the debt-ceiling deal. But the Joint Congressional Committee tasked with finding $1.5 trillion or more in deficit reduction is going to be looking hard at both programs. So would such cuts eliminate wasteful entitlement spending or eliminate vital services? It would depend on whether the committee decides to use a scalpel or a hatchet in paring back spending. Warns Tevi Troy, a former George W. Bush staffer and health policy expert, "the notion of 'only' provider cuts is misleading, as cuts typically get passed on throughout the system. It's hard to say without seeing specifics, but beneficiaries would likely feel such cuts in terms of reduced services."