Supercommittee Deal Not Likely by Thanksgiving Deadline; 2% Medicare Cuts to be Enacted

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), co-chairmen of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, are expected to announce that the supercommittee will not set forth a deal outlining at least $1.2 trillion in cost savings by Thanksgiving, triggering automatic 2 percent cuts to Medicare and other federal programs.

As part of the Budget Control Act of 2011, signed into law by President Obama in August, a bipartisan committee of 12 lawmakers was formed and charged with finding at least $1.2 trillion in savings. The potential savings, coupled with more than $900 billion in spending cuts over the next 10 years, is designed to match the government's extended borrowing power of $2.1 trillion-$2.4 trillion.

The committee and Congress had a Thanksgiving deadline to recommend and enact any proposed cost-saving measures. The supercommittee was due to submit a proposal to the Congressional Budget Office today. Efforts to pen a deal have come to a dead end, principally due to an impasse along party lines over tax reform and new revenues, according to the report. GOP and Democrats have long been divided over the issue, with conservatives taking a stalwart stance against tax hikes.

The supercommittee's failure means as much as $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts will be enacted, equally affecting defense and domestic programs, including Medicare payments to healthcare providers. Payment cuts to hospitals, physicians and other Medicare providers would be limited to 2 percent.

As part of the deal, Medicaid and Social Security would be exempt from any cuts.

Related Articles on Debt Reduction:

Sen. Bernie Sanders, Others to Supercommittee: Do Not Cut Entitlement Programs

Moody's: Hospitals, Drug Companies Stand to Lose Most From Supercommittee

Supercommittee Expected to Maintain Healthcare Reform Funding

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