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Second Opinion

Learn about policy issues important to medical schools and teaching hospitals, with Executive Vice President Atul Grover, M.D., Ph.D.

Washington Highlights

Senate Budget Committee Produces Long-Term Fiscal Plan

April 20, 2012—The Senate Budget Committee April 18 “marked up” the Fiscal Commission Budget Plan, a fiscal year 2013 Senate budget resolution, which is modeled after the president’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, or Simpson-Bowles, deficit reduction plan from December 2010 [see Washington Highlights, Dec. 3, 2010].

This plan includes deep cuts to both discretionary and mandatory programs such as National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Medicare graduate medical education (GME). Although the session was described as a markup, the committee did not vote on the budget plan and no amendments were allowed.

The budget resolution, offered by Senate Budget Committee Chair Kent Conrad (D-S.D.), proposes $5.4 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years, including the spending cuts enacted in the Budget Control Act (P.L. 112-25). It includes cuts of $1.4 trillion in discretionary spending, $841 billion in mandatory spending, and $752 billion in lower interest payments. The chairman’s mark also raises $2.4 trillion in revenue through an overhaul of the tax code.

With regard to mandatory spending, the budget resolution proposes to repeal Medicare’s sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, paying for this proposal with identified health savings including cuts to Medicare direct graduate medical education (DGME), Medicare indirect medical education (IME), and Medicare bad debt payments.

Whether the Senate will vote on this proposal remains unknown; however, House Republicans and Democrats March 28 joined to reject overwhelmingly a similar proposal modeled after the Simpson-Bowles plan, 382-38.

Contact:

Dave Moore
Senior Director, Government Relations
Telephone: 202-828-0559
Email: dbmoore@aamc.org

Len Marquez
Director, Government Relations
Telephone: 202-862-6281
Email: lmarquez@aamc.org

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Jason Kleinman
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806
Email: jkleinman@aamc.org