Analysis Reveals Healthcare's Financial Contributions to Debt Panel

The healthcare industry's significant contributions to 10 of the 12 members of a Congressional debt panel may mean the super committee may not drastically change healthcare programs, such as Medicare, according to a Washington Post report.

The recently passed Budget Control Act, which enacts $900 billion in spending cuts over 10 years, calls for a 12-member bipartisan Congressional committee to find $1.2 trillion in savings by Thanksgiving. The combined savings is in conjunction with raising the government's borrowing power by $2.1 trillion-$2.4 trillion in two stages.

A recent analysis conducted by nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics found the healthcare industry — including physicians, hospitals and payors — contributed nearly $17 million since 1989 to lawmakers on the commitee. The findings come on the heels of the debt reduction committee's first meeting and reinforce the notion that the 12 lawmakers are not expected to make drastic, sweeping changes to Medicare and Medicaid.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics' data, health professionals are among the top 10 contributors to 10 of the Congressional committee members, while hospitals and nursing homes are among the top 20 contributors of campaign dollars to eight committee members. Payors are in the top 20 for five committee members.

Still, the healthcare industry has been fraught with concern: Failure on the Congressional committee's part to find the required savings by Thanksgiving means automatic cuts, including a potential 2 percent cut in Medicare payments, will be enacted.

On the GOP side, the six Congressional committee members include Reps. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), Dave Camp (R-Mich.), Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Sens. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Pat Toomey (R-Penn.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio). Democratic committee members are Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Max Baucus (D-Mont.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), and Reps. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.), Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).

Related Articles on the Debt Reduction Committee:

Final 3 Members Chosen for Debt Reduction Super Committee
Debt-Ceiling Law Could Reduce Medicare Payments to Hospitals by $1.4M Per Year
President Obama Signs Debt Deal With Possible 2% Medicare Cut

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