On February 4, 2008, President Bush released his 2009 Fiscal Year budget. In an effort to achieve a budget surplus by 2012, President Bush proposed significant cuts to Medicare. The largest cuts are for hospitals:
- $15 billion from an across-the-board reduction in the annual updates for inpatient care
- $25 billion from disproportionate share payments
- $20 billion from capital payments for construction of hospitals and purchase of equipment
- $23 billion in indirect medical education
Medicare payment rates for nursing homes would be frozen in 2009, and payment rates for home health agencies would be frozen at current levels through 2013. The President’s budget does not attempt to address physician payment cuts triggered by the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula.
As always, it is important to recognize that the President’s proposal represents the opening bid in a lengthy federal budget process and Congress is not likely to enact the level of cuts proposed by President Bush.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine will keep members abreast of the budget as it is considered by Congress.