Local view: Fiscal cliff would hurt health-care systemsHere in Minnesota and Wisconsin we have an excellent network of dedicated professionals who provide quality health care: Essentia Health Network. As a new member of its board of directors, I can attest to the hard work and dedication of its employees.
By: Charlie Glazman, Duluth News Tribune
Here in Minnesota and Wisconsin we have an excellent network of dedicated professionals who provide quality health care: Essentia Health Network. As a new member of its board of directors, I can attest to the hard work and dedication of its employees.
Much is known about the impending Budget Control Act, the fiscal cliff and the sequestration impending on the American public starting
Jan. 1. But little is known on how it will affect us locally, particularly when we talk about health care in our community.
We will be looking at huge cuts in federal reimbursements to our local health-care systems that will, inevitably, require a reduction in health services to our region. Our health-care system relies on federal reimbursements to help cover the costs of the services provided.
Starting Jan. 2, hospitals and clinics, as well as doctors and other health-care professionals, will be looking at a 2 percent cut in Medicare and Sustainable Growth Rate spending. (The Sustainable Growth Rate formula is designed to prevent aggregate Medicare payments to physicians from growing at a rate that exceeds the rate of inflation.)
While this will reduce federal outlays to care providers by close to $11 billion in fiscal year 2013, cuts in government payments will mean more than $30 million in decreased revenue to Essentia Health’s east region alone. It would be impossible to provide current services with that decrease in revenue.
Essentia Health officials have done much in the past several years to contain costs and provide quality health care to the people of Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and Idaho. They care about their patients and try to provide excellent care at a low cost.
Allowing the Budget Control Act to begin in January would be tragic, as health-care providers and their patients would face a dire future.
I urge everyone to contact President Obama and our legislators in Washington to seriously discuss a compromise position that addresses balancing fiscal responsibility with the needs of the poor and elderly. We can do both, but proactive legislation is needed in order to take positive steps in addressing this issue. Let us eliminate the partisan rhetoric and concentrate on the issue. Please write or e-mail the administration and your congressional representatives.
Charlie Glazman of Superior is a member of the board of directors for St. Mary’s Hospital of Superior.