The Dangers of Medicare and Medicaid Cuts as Part of a Deficit Reduction Plan

Much has been made in the recent weeks of the impending need to raise the statutorily allowed debt limit for the United States government so as to avoid defaulting on its commitments or shutting down Federal Agencies.  One of the most popular demands made for a debt increase is cutting expenditures in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Of the many dangers of cutting Medicare and Medicaid to the rural safety net, the most glaring are a loss of access to care for rural Americans and increasing the burden on vulnerable rural facilities. Proposed cuts will result in job loss and significantly hamper local economies.  NRHA calls on those negotiating an increase in the debt limit, as well as those establishing funding levels for FY 2012 and beyond, to ensure that rural safety net providers have the resources and reimbursements they need to continue to care for the millions of Americans living in rural communities.