By Jennifer Haberkorn | Politico
The debt ceiling agreement could jeopardize millions of dollars, and perhaps billions, in initiatives from President Barack Obama’s health care reform law if the super committee can’t come up with required spending cuts.
Many of the pots of money in the law — one of the Democrats’ most prized pieces of legislation — could get trimmed by the debt deal’s sequestration, or triggered cuts. The funds for prevention programs and community health centers, grants to help states set up insurance exchanges and co-ops, and money to help states review insurance rates could be slashed across the board if the panel can’t find enough cuts this fall.
Funding for the temporary high-risk pools for pre-existing conditions could be sliced, too, as well as grants to improve maternal and child health. And as previously reported by POLITICO, the law’s cost-sharing subsidies — which are supposed to help low-income people pay their out-of-pocket expenses — could face the ax, too.
The prospect of reductions to the health law’s programs — which would undermine the law’s attempts to expand access and improve health quality — could provide an added incentive to Democrats to avoid the triggered cuts. The reductions will happen if the new committee can’t find at least $1.2 trillion in savings over the next 10 years.
“There are at least 15 provisions of the Obama health care law that will find themselves subject to this trigger if the committee is not able to come up with other cuts,” said Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.). “When I look at these, I think it gives a huge incentive to the Democrats to find cuts. What would be triggered if we can’t find other cuts would cut right into the Obama health care law.”