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Budget struggle raising anxiety for health care

Published On: Dec 29 2012 10:26:55 AM CST
elderly, doctor


Medicare -- Under the fiscal cliff, this health program's budget would be cut by $11 billion, resulting in lower payments to doctors, hospitals, long-term care facilities and nursing homes. Some fear the facilities could stop taking Medicare patients as a result.


Confused about the federal budget struggle? So are doctors, hospital administrators and other professionals who serve the 100 million Americans covered by Medicare and Medicaid.
Rarely has the government sent so many conflicting signals in so short a time about the bottom line for the health care industry.
Cuts are coming, says Washington, and some could be really big. Yet more government spending is also being promised as President Barack Obama's health care overhaul advances and millions of uninsured people move closer to getting government-subsidized coverage.
Thornton Kirby, president of the South Carolina Hospital Association, says it's like someone being told they are getting a raise, but their taxes and gas bill are also going up. There's no way to tell how deep a hole you might be in.


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