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  • Debt Limit Compromise Signed Into Law

    Yesterday, the Budget Control Act of 2011 was signed into law preventing default on federal obligations by raising the nation's debt ceiling. The debt ceiling package represents months of negotiations that have been closely monitored by APTA to identify potential effects on the profession.

    The law creates a 2-step process. The first step raises the debt ceiling by $900 billion through February. This initial increase is offset by a cap to discretionary spending for Fiscal Years 2012 and 2013. The cap does not include any new taxes or specific cuts to Medicare or Medicaid programs. 

    In step 2 of the process, a 12-member Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, which will be appointed by leadership from both parties and chambers this month, will identify an additional $1.2 to $1.5 trillion in cuts by November 23—prompting a second round of debt ceiling increases. The future amount of the debt ceiling increase will be matched by the dollar amount of the cuts found by the committee. If a deal is not reached by the committee or passed by Congress by the end of the year, across-the-board cuts will be imposed to increase the debt ceiling in 2012. Social Security, Medicaid, Veterans’ benefits, and other programs will be exempt from these cuts.  

    APTA will continue to work with congressional leaders and relevant committees as the Joint Committee begins to map out additional deficit reduction measures this fall and closely monitor proposals to ensure best possible outcomes for the profession.


    • These are my concerns: If goals are not met for the second stage of deficit reduction, then cuts to Medicare will become automatic. They are likely to be across the board. Many in Washington are also counting on a 30% reduction in the fee schedule that is set to go into place later this year. We need to be able to show our legislators that what we are currently reimbursed by Medicare is a fair payment. There needs to be an overall look at things...many people are having complex lumbar spine fusion surgeries. How many of them would do just as well, if not better, with PT instead? How many people looking at open heart surgery would benefit from a change in diet? How much could be saved that way?

      Posted by Paul Weiss on 8/5/2011 9:08 PM

    • Thanks for staying on top of this issue for me. It is way too much work for me to do on an already heavy class workload. It seems to me from the propaganda that the Republicans are bent in dismantling SS and medicare. These programs have been a godsend to the elderly and are a huge chunk of change for the medical profession as a rule. It seems our efforts would be better served by aligning our energies with the more centrist party of the two, in this case, the Democratic Party. I would even propose our efforts focus on isolating SS and medicare taxes from the rest of the budget. Again, thank you for staying on top of this. John Stapleton PTA student

      Posted by John Stapleton on 8/7/2011 6:37 PM

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