Much like the Medicare sustainable growth rate formula, the budget sequester that also threatens the program in 2013 is cryptically named and arbitrary in nature.
The sequester, a governmentwide spending reduction plan for the next decade, is not based on health policy, analysts say. Lower funding won’t offer health professionals incentives to improve patient care, and it won’t discourage fraud. The metaphor that critics of the plan often cite is the budgeting mechanism functioning not as a surgical scalpel, but as a meat ax or a buzz saw — eviscerating federal agency budgets over a period of nine years. Though Medicaid and Social Security are exempt from the reckoning, all other areas of the government will share in the budgetary pain.
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