House set to vote on fiscal cliff 'Plan B'
AHA News Now
Dec 20, 2012
The U.S. House of Representatives is poised to vote tonight on legislation to avert some of the effects of the so-called "fiscal cliff." The package, dubbed "Plan B" by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), would prevent tax rates from increasing on those earning less than $1 million a year while also delaying parts of the sequester set to kick in early next year, but not the 2% Medicare sequester. The delay would be funded in part by cutting health care spending. Specifically, the package would reduce the Medicaid provider assessment rate from 6% to 5.5% beginning June 1, 2013, repeal the Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program maintenance-of-effort rules under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and reduce Medicaid state disproportionate share hospital allotments for fiscal year 2022. It also would repeal unlimited funding for exchange grants under the ACA, eliminate the Prevention and Public Health Fund, and defund the ACA's Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan program. "The impending budget crisis is real, and we need to work together to provide financial certainty to our economy," said AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock. "But today's proposal by the House would negatively impact all patients, especially the nation's most vulnerable - children, the poor, elderly and the disabled." Senate Democrats have said they will not take up the bill, and the White House has issued a veto threat.