MASSDEVICE ON CALL — The bad news: A law on the books with $110 billion in mandatory budget cuts, including an $11 billion haircut for doctors and hospitals.
The good news: Everybody hates it.
The so-called "financial Armageddon" called sequestration, which would slash $110 billion from the U.S. government’s budget next year on the way to $2.1 trillion over a decade, is the ultimate poison pill. Politicians of all stripes, from President Barack Obama to the Republican and Democratic leadership in Congress to rank-and-file members, are opposed to the measure.
Doctors and hospitals have plenty to dislike about the law, namely an $11 billion cut to Medicare payments, according to an estimate from the White House Office of Management & Budget. The 2% across-the-board cut would cost about 496,000 healthcare jobs next year, according to a hospital industry report cited by Kaiser Health News.
"[S]equestration itself was never intended to be implemented," the OMB reported. "The Administration strongly believes that sequestration is bad policy, and that Congress can and should take action to avoid it by passing a comprehensive and balanced deficit reduction package."
Beltway lawmakers are expected to resolve the issue before sequestration goes into effect, but not until the election-year fervor dies down after the November elections. High-level talks between Democrats and Republicans are already under way, according to Politico.
‘Designer babies?’ UK mulls controversial DNA treatment
Great Britain is considering whether to approve a controversial fertility treatment that uses the DNA of 3 people to bypass mitochondrial diseases, raising debate over opening the door to "designer babies" to cure illnesses that affect only 0.0002% of the population.
Study examines recycled pacemakers
A large percentage of pacemakers and defibrillators recovered from patients after their deaths could be cheaply re-used in low- and middle-income countries, according to a study in the American Journal of Cardiology.
"The upside of the company’s iPad adoption was instantly clear, Adduci says, even if finding a concrete ROI is difficult," the magazine reported. "Sales productivity shot up, while the need for printed material declined dramatically. And there were intangible benefits, such as improved morale and reinforcing the company’s innovative image."
Voters prefer Obama to Romney on healthcare
Polls show that voters trust President Barack Obama more than his challenger for the Oval Office, Mitt Romney, when it comes to healthcare – even though most of them view Obama’s signature healthcare reform law unfavorably.
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