Fiscal Cliff Stopgap Delays 'Doc Fix,' but Hits Hospitals
"Everything that I've seen indicates that we will continue to push it out to see if someone else has a better answer," Copeland says. "It is a bitter pill that we are going to have to swallow at some point especially around healthcare. We don't seem to have a really good answer other than continuing to push it further out. Whether they come out with another one-year fix for SGR or they do something more grand and whether they come to grips with some of the things they are trying to do with Medicare I don't know. It doesn't seem like it was going to get into this bill for sure. It is hard to think they are going to get anything accomplished in two months."
Richard "Buz" Cooper, MD, a healthcare economist and senior fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, says it's too early to predict the long-term effects of the Act.
"On the one hand, it accomplishes some income redistribution, with higher income and investment taxes borne by wealthier individuals and with the retention of unemployment insurance and income tax credits for poor families," Cooper said in an email exchange.
"But the untold story has to do with things beyond this legislation, like the added payroll taxes for Medicare and the ACA, taxes on medical equipment, and the steep increases in Medicare B premiums for upper income retirees. It will take a good deal of analysis to figure out exactly what the tax picture will look like for 2013 and beyond."
John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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