Provider Groups Blast U.S. Senate CAP Act

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , June 23, 2011

Under the CAP Act, The Lewin Group analysis found thatby 2021:

  • Social Security benefits would be cut by nearly 20%.
  • Cuts to Social Security and other income support programs would force 3.8 million people into poverty--2.1 million of them seniors, a 44% increase among this age group.
  • 5.1 million people could lose their health insurance.
  • Dramatic reductions in fees for physician services would lead to fewer physicians participating in Medicare.
  • Cuts to hospitals could force most to operate in the red, jeopardizing access to care.
  • Up to 1.3 million healthcare workers could lose their jobs.
  • Cost shifting of federal payment shortfalls to private employers could lead to a nearly 5% increase in health insurance premiums for those in employer-sponsored plans.

"AARP understands the nation's long-term fiscal challenges must be confronted, but this discussion cannot simply be reduced to a budget exercise—this is about real people," said David Certner, AARP's Legislative Policy Director"We oppose proposals that rely on arbitrary spending limits because they could result in harmful cuts to the critical Medicare, Social Security and long-term care benefits that allow millions of older Americans to live independently and age with dignity. Such proposals threaten the financial and health security of today's seniors and future generations." 

It is not clear how much support the CAP Act has in Congress.Nevertheless, the groups that banded to oppose the proposal said similar consequences could result from any across-the-board measure that sets specific limits on spending. They want Congress to reject proposals that call for arbitrary spending caps.

The groups that commissioned The Lewin Group study include American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, AARP, American College of Cardiology and LeadingAge.

For more information, view a summary of the findings or the full report.

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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