Come Friday, Patients Will Begin To Feel Impact of Sequestration

February 26, 2013 at 9:40 pm Leave a comment

Sequestration is the buzz word lately.

With the $85 billion in spending cuts set to hit the government, and subsequently all Americans, March 1, it’s time to learn how this will really impact health care.

The unfortunate thing is that there are very few real details out there about the sequester, and as we all know, the devil is in the details. All that is available is estimates as to how it will impact federal agencies and the states as a whole. But there’s no doubt that health care in the country will suffer if our leaders don’t figure things out by Friday.

So how exactly will the sequester impact health care? Here are some of the basics that I’ve gathered from various articles and reports:

MEDICARE

There would be a two percent cut to Medicare ($11 million this year alone), costing cost hospitals and doctors more than 200,000 jobs just this year.

FOOD & DRUG ADMINISTRATION

An eight percent cut to the Food and Drug Administration would occur this year, mostly in staff, and would cause delays in the approval of new drugs and medical devices.

Additionally, the FDA would have to perform about 2,100 fewer food safety inspections, which could cause an increase future food-borne illnesses that weren’t found during inspection.

AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

There would be a $66 million cut in grants to help establish state health insurance exchange programs and $76 million cut to the Affordable Care Act’s prevention and public health trust fund.

NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH

The National Institutes of Health would be cut by more than $1.6 billion, which could result in the loss of tens of thousands of jobs.

Cuts to the NIH would delay progress on the prevention of chronic illnesses and on the development of treatments for common and rare diseases affecting Americans.

MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES

There could be a 7.5 to 12 percent cut across-the-board to the Substance Abuse and Mental Services Health Administration, resulting in over 373,000 seriously mentally ill adults and children not receiving the mental health services they need.

Additionally, admissions to inpatient facilities for addiction services could be reduced by 109,000 and people receiving treatment for substance abuse could be reduced by almost 91,000.

CHILDREN

Approximately 211,958 fewer children would receive vaccinations through a grant program to states and cities which provides vaccines to underinsured children and adults.

CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL & PREVENTION

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would face approximately $350 million in cuts this year alone in 12 of its budget categories.

Additionally, cuts to the CDC would mean a reduction of 2,000 disease control specialists who help find and stop food-borne disease outbreaks, meningitis, pneumonia, flu, HIV and other critical health issues.

AIDS & HIV ASSISTANCE

Cuts to the AIDS Drug Assistance Program could reduce the amount of people having access to HIV medications by 7,400. Additionally, approximately 424,000 fewer tests could be conducted by CDC state grantees.

TRIBAL HEALTH

Indian Health Service and Tribal hospitals and clinics would have to provide 3,000 fewer inpatient admissions and 804,000 fewer outpatient visits.

This isn’t everything that will be impacted- all those details are yet to be determined or publicly announced (that I could find). However, from what I can see, the sequester is not going to be good for those of us who depend on a strong health care system. I really hope Congress gets their act together and comes up with a compromise before March 1. If they don’t, we will all be greatly impacted by the cuts to come.

Sources: WhiteHouse.gov, NBC News, Committee on Appropriations, HHS Letter, The Hill, APHA

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Entry filed under: Affordable Care Act, General Disease, IBD News, Legislation, Mental Health, Treatment.

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