Debt ceiling: We helped hold the line

You may have heard: Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and Senate have agreed in principle on a deal to extend the debt ceiling until 2013.  Until the House and Senate vote this afternoon and evening, things could still change.

SEIU members’ collective efforts significantly moved the ball on Medicaid cuts during the debt ceiling standoff —at one point we were looking at as much as $500 billion.  At the beginning of this fight healthcare funding was significantly vulnerable and our calls, emails, actions and focus helped hold the line.

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Today’s debt ceiling news:

1)      The deal has initial cuts of $1 trillion in discretionary spending.  None of those affect health care directly, but they will have an impact on states.

2)      A bipartisan 12 member super-committee will be formed.  They will be tasked with finding a combination of cuts and revenue equal to an additional $1.5 trillion in cuts by November.

3)      Nothing is off the table for the super-committee—they could choose additional discretionary cuts or changes to any number of programs

4)      If Congress fails to adopt the super-committee recommendations, it will trigger across-the-board cuts.

5)      In the across-the-board cuts Medicaid would be exempted – as would many poverty programs- and Medicare would take a 2% cut focused on providers.

We are not out of the woods; more actions might still be needed from SEIU members.  The super-committee recommendations will present continued risks to Medicaid and Medicare as well as many other programs that matter to our members.

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