January 08,2019

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Wyden Decries Medicare Cuts Resulting From Trump Shutdown

Senate Republicans Failure to Act Will Lead to Hundreds of Millions in Cuts to Medicare Next Month

Washington, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today sounded the alarm on imminent cuts to Medicare if Congress does not take action to pass a bill to end the Trump Shutdown.

“Medicare is set to be the latest casualty of the Trump shutdown,” Wyden said. “Instead of focusing on seniors’ health care, doctors and hospitals will be forced to contend with across-the-board cuts to their Medicare payments. On top of all the other misery of the Trump shutdown, the president and his Republican allies will be responsible for cuts to seniors’ health care program. It’s time for Mitch McConnell to let the Senate vote on a bill to reopen the government and prevent hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts to Medicare.” 

Under federal law, if the total cost of legislation at the end of a session of Congress exceeds the total revenue raised, an automatic cut to government programs is implemented to make up the difference unless Congress takes action to prevent those cuts from going into effect. At the end of 2018, Trump’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) estimated that amount to be $482 million dollars, but it is likely higher due to the passage of additional legislation at the end of the year. According to the law, known as PAYGO, the Trump administration is required to issue a sequestration order – putting the cuts into effect – not later than 14 days (excluding weekends and holidays) after the Congress adjourns. This year, that date is estimated to be on January 24th.

Medicare will bear the brunt of the cuts – leading to a shortfall in payments to doctors, hospitals, and coverage providers who ensure seniors get timely, quality care. The House passed legislation last week that would waive these cuts and reopen the government. The Senate has not scheduled any action to take up a government funding bill.