SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – So-called “compromise” legislation raising the federal debt ceiling while cutting social programs will mean higher healthcare costs for everyone, fewer hospitals and nursing homes and fewer hospital-sponsored educational opportunities. It has also spurred local protests.
The U.S. Senate is expected to vote at noon today to follow the House in approving legislation to eliminate $1 trillion from the federal budget now and an additional $1 trillion over the coming decade while allowing the government to fulfill current obligations which will push it above the current debt ceiling.
(More information: LA Times).
Cutting 2 percent of federal revenues from Medicare/Medicaid beginning in 2013, noted Dan Sisto of the Healthcare Association of New York, will have broad consequences on an industry already beleaguered by $2.8 billion in state cuts. Sisto made public comments in an interview with Nick Reisman of YNN television Monday night.
“Seniors are at risk … but so are others for payments but seniors because eventually, access is going to denied,” Sisto said. He noted the closing of 30 NY state hospitals and 51 nursing homes in the past two years. “Sixty percent (of hospital revenue) is Medicare/Medicaid,” Sisto said. As Medicare/Medicaid patients are served below cost, hospitals make up the difference with their non-program business; therefore, Sisto said, everyone else will pay more (and private insurance costs increase).
Hospitals providing educational opportunities, he said, will be hard-pressed to grow, expand, or even maintain them under the weight of this financial pressure.
Some observers – even late-night comics — have pointed out that there is no compromise – it simply gives the “Tea Party” element of the Republican Party everything it wants.
At noon today a group of people in downtown Saratoga Springs will once be at 20th District U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson’s office (it’s over there by the Roohan Realty/Community Theater building) to protest the Republican Party’s continuing efforts to force cuts to Medicare and other social programs while protecting G.W. Bush-era tax cuts for the very wealthy and corporate tax subsidies, etc.
This follows what some Dems saw as an unconscionable attempt by the G.O.P. to embarrass President Obama and the Democratic Party and extort some of the very cuts proposed by threatening to force the federal government into default.
The depth of the recession was underscored by Monday’s report that U.S. manufacturing was nearly flat in July.
Gibson (R-Kinderhook), voted Monday in favor of the compromise bill to avert default.