If President Barack Obama and Congress cannot reach an agreement on the fiscal cliff, economic experts agree it would be devastating ... The part of the government that handles health-related programs -- Medicare, medical research, food safety inspectors -- all would be automatically cut starting January 2 if there is no agreement on the Budget Control Act.
The fiscal cliff not only affects your financial health, but it can also affect your physical health. Changes to Medicare and other health-related programs can impact these aspects of your wellbeing tremendously if decisions are not made in Congress soon.
This issue was recently taken up in a CNN article titled, “10 ways falling off the fiscal cliff could hurt your health.”
According to the Congressional Budget Office, if the fiscal cliff is not avoided, the scheduled reduction in Medicare’s payment rates for physicians will lower Medicare spending by $11 billion. This overall spending reduction results in a 2% cut in existing Medicare budgets. Consequently, these reductions will mean a decrease of available Medicare funds to help pay for essential healthcare needs.
In many instances, Medicare funds are used to pay for vital services like nursing home and hospice care, which are crucial to the wellbeing of our elderly population. Reduced Medicare funds mean reduced payments to health care providers which, in turn, may cause hospitals and care providers to stop accepting Medicare patients.
In preparation for the impending fiscal cliff, a consultation with an experienced elder law attorney can ensure that your access to healthcare is protected.
Reference: CNN (November 30, 2012) “10 ways falling off the fiscal cliff could hurt your health”
Congressional Budget Office (May 30, 2012) “Economic Effects of Reducing the Fiscal Restraint That Is Scheduled to Occur in 2013”