Health Center Federal Policy, Uncategorized

Super Committee Named to Broker Next Debt Deal

by Alex Sange, MPP

When we last blogged about the debt deal, or the Budget Control Act of 2011, we generally outlined the pieces of the new law. The first piece of the law makes $900 billion in discretionary spending cuts over the next ten years in order to increase the debt limit for the next few months, which will be split between security and non-security spending. These funding reductions are accomplished by setting discretionary spending limits for appropriation in FY2012 and the next 9 fiscal years and including an enforcement mechanism if these limits are exceeded.  The second piece of the deal requires a new bipartisan, bicameral Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (now commonly referred to as the ‘Super Committee’) to identify and recommend savings of at least $1.2 trillion, which could be spending reductions and/or revenue enhancements, which both Chambers of Congress must pass and the President must sign into law before the debt limit can be increased again.  If the Super Committee can’t meet their goal, automatic cuts totaling whatever portion of the $1.2 trillion mark has yet to be reached (with some exemptions for low-income programs like Medicaid) will go into effect in FY2013 (these cuts would include defense spending).

Strongly incentivized to avoid significant across-the-board reductions, the 12 members of the new Super Committee have a daunting task ahead of them: to craft and advance a policy proposal this fall that finds the required savings and which can pass both Chambers and be accepted by the President.  Last week, House and Senate Leadership selected their Super Committee picks, so here’s the line-up:

HOUSE

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX-5)*
Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI-6)
Rep. David Camp (R-MI-4)
Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-SC-6)
Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA-31)
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD-8)

SENATE

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)*
Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT)
Sen. John F. Kerry (D-MA)
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA)
Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)

* Committee Co-Chair

Individual House and Senate Committees, including House Energy and Commerce, Senate Health, Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) and Senate Finance Committees, will also have a role weighing in with the Super Committee. Committees of jurisdiction may send over their own set of policy proposals for the Super Committee’s consideration as they craft recommendations.  Several of the Super Committee members are already strong Health Center supporters, and we are working hard to make sure each member of the Committee, and all Members of Congress understand the importance of the Medicaid PPS and funding for the Health Centers program (both discretionary and mandatory).  However, this deal will be a big one, as nothing is off-limits to the Super Committee, and it will be brokered over the next few months.  Stay tuned to the blog and our advocacy alerts to make sure you’re plugged in and ready to speak up for Health Centers when the time comes.

2 Comments on “Super Committee Named to Broker Next Debt Deal

  1. JUST WANT TO SAY I THINK RURAL HEALTH CENTERS ARE WONDERFUL IN THEORY. I JUST WONDER WHY THERE IS NOT MORE REGULATIONS ON THE WAY THE MONEY THEY RECEIVE FROM THE GOVERNMENT IS SPENT. I CAN TELL YOU THE HEALTH CLINIC IN OUR TOWN IS RAN LIKE A FAMILY OWNED BUSINESS. THERE IS SUCH NEPOTISM THAT YOU WOULD NOT SEE IN TODAYS BUSINESSES ESPECIALLY ONE THAT GETS FEDERAL FUNDING. I SEE SO MUCH WASTED MONEY AND I WONDER WHY………………..NO ONE IS WATCHING. I REALIZE THERE IS A BOARD BUT IT IS MORE FOR SHOW THAN WHAT I THINK IT WAS SUPPOSE TO BE FOR. THEY REALLY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IS GOING ON WITH MANAGEMENT. I FEEL THAT IF THERE REALLY WAS SOMEONE WATCHING THERE WOULD NOT BE SO MUCH DEBT………….

  2. Response to Jean’s comment: First of all I don’t think you can blame the national debt on Community Health Centers alone. You may want to do a little more research on Federally Qualified Health Centers and Rural Health Centers (look alikes). The Board members are recognized members of the counties we serve and approve or deny policies, procedure and purchases. There are many regulations that each has to follow and they are audited annually. The amount of money received from the government in very minimal, approximately only 10% of their annual budget. This 10% is to help cover those individuals that have no insurance, no income or very little income AND they provide all types of care and education for a small fee. When you look at the percentage of unemployed/uninsured nationwide CHC’s are a much needed service. Those “wasted” $$$$ you refer to, barely covers the cost.

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