The Fiscal Cliff
Rich Umbdenstock, AHA President and CEO
When the ball drops on New Year's Eve, we could be at the brink of a fiscal cliff. Unless Congress acts, the moratorium on Medicare physician payment cuts, the payroll tax cut and the so-called “Bush tax cuts” will expire. Soon after, automatic cuts in last year's Budget Control Act kick in, and Congress will again need to raise the debt limit. What to do about the deficit is the question during and after the election; unless we help legislators understand our challenges, value and ideas on alternatives to address the deficit, there's danger the answer will be more arbitrary payment cuts to providers instead of real solutions to fiscal problems. We must engage legislators, candidates and the hospital family now to ensure patients have continued access to Medicare and Medicaid services. Watch for more next week on how you can lay the foundation for the debate to come.