Obama Urges Congressional Action to Avoid Sequestration

In an address yesterday, President Barack Obama urged Congress members to find a "balanced mix of spending cuts and tax reform" in order to avoid impending automatic budget cuts.

When Congress passed its fiscal cliff bill in January, the across-the-board spending cuts — also known as sequestration — were put off until March 1. In September, the White House's Office of Management and Budget estimated sequestration would cost hospitals and other providers $11.1 billion this year in lost Medicare payments. Medicare, and other domestic programs, faces a 2 percent budget reduction.

The Republican-led House has said there must be significant cuts and reforms to domestic programs, including Medicare and Social Security, without further tax hikes, while President Obama and Democratic Congress members said new tax revenue must be combined with spending cuts. If Congress cannot agree to a deal by March 1, President Obama said another small package of spending cuts and tax reforms should be passed to delay the sequester.

"There is no reason that the jobs of thousands of Americans who work in national security or education or clean energy, not to mention the growth of the entire economy, should be put in jeopardy just because folks in Washington couldn't come together to eliminate a few special interest tax loopholes or government programs that we agree need some reform," the president said in his address.

More Articles on Medicare and Sequestration:

House Extends Debt Ceiling, Medicare Sequestration Still Slotted in March
Where Medicare Stands: A Discussion With Dr. Oliver Fein of Weill Cornell Medical College
Congress Passes Fiscal Cliff, SGR Deal at Hospitals' Expense

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