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 Sequestration Could Cost Providers Up To $11 Billion, White House Claims

​Automatic spending cuts scheduled to take effect early next year could cost Medicare providers up to $11 billion in reimbursements unless Congress and the president can rework the nation’s budget, a new report from the White House said Friday.
Last year, the Republican-controlled House and the Obama administration agreed to slash about $110 billion in federal spending under a deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. Those cuts were delayed until the beginning of 2013.

But with the clock ticking, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said Friday in a report that Medicare reimbursements would automatically be trimmed by 2 percent under the deal.

The cuts are the first of many under the so-called sequestration, which would hack $2.1 trillion in federal spending over the next decade. Each party says the automatic cuts are a bad idea, but the
Obama administration on Friday rang the fire bells.

The automatic cuts “would have a devastating impact on important” federal programs, OMB said. “The sequestration itself was never intended to be implemented. The administration strongly believes that sequestration is bad policy and that Congress can and should take action to avoid it by passing a comprehensive and balanced deficit reduction package.”

Voters head to the polls in November in national elections. Obama has spent the past two years under attack for his health care reform legislation, but the Supreme Court gave him a legal victory earlier this summer.

His campaign rhetoric has focused especially on House Republicans, whom he hopes to paint as ideologues bent on undermining the nation’s social safety net.

The Republicans, for their part, have tried to paint Obama as a kind of Nero, who fiddled with health care reform while the economy burned.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee for president, has called the so-called Obamacare reforms an unconscionable drain on the nation’s finances.

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