Obama, Dems Open to Medicare Cuts

    Dr. Gary C. Richter, M.D., talks with medicaid patient Johnnie Mae McClendon Friday July 1, 2011 about a procedure in his office in Atlanta, Ga.    Payments to doctors in Georgia who treat Medicaid patients are being cut as the state wrestles with the loss of hundreds of millions of federal stimulus dollars. Gov. Nathan Deal had originally proposed a 1 percent cut to health care providers, excluding hospitals, to take effect on the July 1 start of the fiscal year.

    Joey Ivansco / AP Photo

    Is this the advent of a budget compromise—or just another chapter in a tortured saga? The White House is signaling that it’s open to tens of billions in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid as part of negotiations over slashing the federal budget and raising the national debt ceiling. It’s not clear how large the cuts would be, with the White House and Senate Democratic leaders saying they’d be contingent on the size of increases in revenue Congress would have to agree on—a proposition that Republicans have repeatedly rejected. Democrats say the two programs could be cut by reducing payouts to hospitals and nursing homes, among other services, without putting new costs on patients. But liberal Democrats and the health-care industry are pushing back on the proposal.

    Read it at The New York Times