As Washington attempts to steer clear of the “fiscal cliff,” it is important that policymakers, stakeholders and the public have a clear understanding of the components of this key policy crossroads and the likely consequences of inaction – on everything from expiring tax cuts to debt ceiling increases to scheduled budget reductions. The goal of a Nov. 16 briefing was to foster that understanding.
The briefing placed particular emphasis on the implications for health programs and the health care industry. Automatic cuts would not apply to Medicaid, but Medicare providers would experience 2 percent payment cuts. The reductions would likely be larger for discretionary health programs, such as those funded as part of the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A distinguished group of panelists offered insight into these and related issues:
Stan Collender, who worked for both the House and Senate budget committees, and now writes a fiscal column for Roll Call, provided an overview of the fiscal cliff, including the impact of various pieces of legislation.
Lisa Potetz, a health care consultant with decades of experience on Capitol Hill, at the Congressional Budget Office and at the American Hospital Association, highlighted the impact of going over the fiscal cliff on the Medicare program.
Tim Westmoreland, a Georgetown University law professor who spent decades working on Medicaid, welfare, AIDS policy and budget issues, both on and off Capitol Hill, addressed the potential impact of inaction on discretionary health care programs.
G. William Hoagland, a senior vice president at the Bipartisan Policy Center who for decades led budget staff in Congress, assessed the impact of going over the fiscal cliff on the economy. How would it affect the budget deficit? Jobs? The overall health care system?
Ed Howard of the Alliance and Diane Rowland of the Kaiser Family Foundation moderated the discussion.
This forum took place from 12:15 to 2:00 p.m. on Friday, November 16, at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room G50.
The event was sponsored by the nonpartisan Alliance for Health Reform and the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Contact: Marilyn Werber Serafini 202/789-2300 firstname.lastname@example.org
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