$600B in Healthcare Cuts Part of Latest Simpson-Bowles Sequester Fix

Within the latest $2.4 trillion deficit-reduction plan floated by president-appointed bipartisan budget watchdogs Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles is $600 billion in spending cuts to healthcare programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

The White House has previously drawn the line for healthcare cuts at $400 billion.

The plan set up by Mr. Simpson and Mr. Bowles, a Republican and Democrat, respectively, to avoid $85 billion in automatic cuts — better known as sequestration — effective March 1 would fall above President Barack Obama's mark of $1.5 trillion over the next decade but below Republicans' aim of $4 trillion without new taxes.

The healthcare spending reductions would come from "provider and beneficiary incentives," as well as shrinking provider payments, cost-sharing, raising premiums for the wealthy, reducing drug costs and improving efficiency in healthcare, according to the report.

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