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Dueling Healthcare Proposals Submitted to Super Committee

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, October 19, 2011

Reading the policy recommendations provides insight on why 535 members of Congress have happily put this budget debacle onto the backs of just 12 of their members: It’s hard, thankless work. The odds are that no one will be happy with the outcome.

I have no particular insight on how the super committee is approaching its work. But I do suspect that, once the 12 have made their proposals, the rest of Congress will be happy to let the automatic trigger do the dirty work. The automatic trigger, built into the super committee’s creation, will cut every program except Medicaid and reduce Medicare provider payments by 2%.

But as the saying goes, nothing is ever final in politics. AsJosh Barro, a Manhattan Institute fellow, pointed out in the New York Times, pulling the trigger on healthcare still leaves the option of unpulling the trigger. Many of the automatic cuts wouldn’t even go into effect until 2013. That’s a lifetime in politics with plenty of time to gauge electoral opinion and make changes.


Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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