What the Debt Ceiling Deal Could Mean for Imaging

August 2, 2011

For the first stage of cuts, which calls for an immediate $1 trillion over a decade in exchange for raising the debt ceiling by an additional $900 billion, imaging reimbursement was spared. But that might not be the case for the second stage, according to ACR.

President Obama and congressional lawmakers have agreed on major spending cuts as a part of the debt ceiling deal aimed at staving off a financial default.

The cuts are to happen in two stages. For the first stage, which calls for an immediate $1 trillion over a decade in exchange for raising the debt ceiling by an additional $900 billion, imaging reimbursement was spared. But that might not be the case for the second stage, according to ACR.

The second round of $1.4 to $1.5 trillion in cuts will be identified by a bipartisan “super committee” of House and Senate members. The group is expected to submit its recommendations at the end of November, and those recommendations could include cuts to Medicare, notes Aubrey Westgate at DI's sister publication, Physicians Practice.

“Although successful in averting any cuts associated with the initial $900 billion debt ceiling increase, ACR anticipates that the 12-member super committee undoubtedly will consider changes in Medicare physician reimbursement rates to cut costs,” according to the ACR. “Cuts to imaging will likely be part of a larger package of physician reimbursement reductions.”

If the committee doesn’t reach an agreement, $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts would be applied across the board, and Medicare would be included.

ACR vowed to continue educating lawmakers about “why further cuts to imaging are unnecessary and will adversely impact patient care.”

Have you been following the debt ceiling debate? Are you concerned it could impact imaging? Tell us what you think.