Sequestration Consequences Loom for Healthcare in Georgia

Now that we’ve nosedived from the fiscal cliff, we have the impending sequestration to look forward to. In layman’s terms, sequestration refers to $85 million worth of federal budget cuts that will likely go into effect March 1. The cuts will be divided evenly between defense and domestic programs, and WILL affect healthcare to some degree. Affected agencies will implement the cuts – a predicted 9 percent for non-defense programs – over the seven months left in the fiscal year.

Take a look at just a few of the healthcare areas sequestration is likely to affect:

  • Funding for the Affordable Care Act is not exempt.
  • Medicare providers can be docked up to 2 percent, which could possibly translate to $11.1 billion
  • The National Institutes of Health could see cuts close to $2.5 billion.
  • The CDC could be impacted to the tune of $464 million.
  • Community health centers will likely see $27 million in cuts.
  • Nearly a half a million healthcare jobs could be lost in just the first year, according to a joint study funded by the American Hospital Association, American Nurses Association and American Medical Association.

Back in September, Representative and physician Phil Gingrey (R) noted that providers in Georgia had bigger concerns than the possible affects of sequestration, including Medicare physician payment cuts, struggling to meet Meaningful Use deadlines and transitioning to the new ICD-10 coding system.

Now that sequestration is just a few days away, are providers paying more attention? What will these cuts mean for healthcare in Georgia? No matter how you slice and dice the figures, one thing is clear when it comes to sequestration – patients will bear the brunt of cuts made to healthcare programs.

Doctors that see lower Medicare reimbursements may stop seeing as many Medicare beneficiaries, leaving those patients in need of a new, now harder-to-find, care provider. If healthcare jobs do indeed dry up in Georgia, patients will only find it that much harder to make an appointment with a provider, resulting in overcrowded ERs. They may also find care hard to come by as their local community health centers close up shop or scale back services.

Meredith Ley, a reporter with WSAV in Savannah, highlighted the impact to patients in Savannah in a recent interview with Susan Alt of the Coastal Health District.

Once again, healthcare finds itself in need of a quick solution to fix a problem that’s been around for quite some time – providing accessible, affordable, quality care to Georgia’s citizens.

2 comments Add your comment

Bernie

February 24th, 2013
10:14 am

The Republican Governor of Georgia, does not care about these figures nor does The Republican Party. The Health & Welfare of the American People is not high on their list of concerns. Actually, its not on the List.

Drik

March 1st, 2013
7:08 am

If sequestration is just a 2.6 % decrease in the rate of increase spending, then why is there all this talk about massive layoffs and cutbacks? With QE3 and the continuing creation of an extra trillion dollars a year having been printed and being flushed into circulation by the FED, at a rate of $85 billion a month, the new effective rate of inflation is now over 20% a year. Unofficially, since the cost of energy and food are not counted and the value of everyone’s house has crashed. Officially, they are trying to pretend that it is way less, just like they are no longer counting most of the unemployed as unemployed, because it makes them look bad. So, with a 20%+ annual rate of inflation now built in, there are massive cutbacks that are required everywhere anyway. Sequestration is the excuse to blame the crunch caused by the inflation that they have created. And the inflation that they have created is the only thing that has kept the dollar from collapsing in value.

Can you spare a couple thousand for a cup of coffee?

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