Maine hospitals are poised to lose hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of jobs as the result of looming federal cuts, according to the hospitals’ lobbying group.

The Maine Hospital Association said Wednesday that Medicare cuts called for under the federal deficit reduction plan will cost Maine $21 million and nearly 3,000 jobs in 2013. The cuts are scheduled to begin next year and continue until 2021.

The jobs estimate came from a new report prepared by Pittsburgh consulting firm Tripp Umbach for the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association and the American Nurses Association. The report measured direct job losses in health care and predicted ripple effects such as reduced spending by hospitals and their laid-off workers in other areas of the economy.

Congress approved the Medicare cuts, which total $10.6 billion next year nationally, as part of a hastily reached budget deal that followed a standoff between the Republican-controlled U.S. House and Democratic President Barack Obama over raising the federal debt ceiling.

The plan directed a “supercommittee” of lawmakers to find more than a trillion dollars to reduce the deficit. The committee failed, and unless Congress finds the savings over the next few months, deep spending cuts will be triggered automatically in January 2013 in a process known as sequestration.

Medicare, the government health insurance program for the elderly, will be cut up to 2 percent from 2013 to 2021, costing Maine hospitals $230 million over that period, according to the Maine Hospital Association.

The debt ceiling will need to be raised again next year, because the last fight over the country’s debt obligations raised the ceiling only enough to pay the federal government’s bills through the end of this year. Maine hospitals are worried that impending fight could lead to even more rollbacks.

“Cuts of this magnitude will negatively affect access, quality and the local economy,” Steven Michaud, president of the MHA, said in a press release. “We urge policymakers to craft more sensible solutions to our nation’s budget challenges.”

At least seven hospitals have announced layoffs of more than 125 employees this year, according to the association. The weak economy and rising numbers of people who can’t afford their medical bills also are some of the pressures facing Maine hospitals.

“This is the reality of the cuts-only approach to deficit reduction,” said Garrett Martin, executive director of the Maine Center for Economic Policy. “Without a balanced solution that includes revenue increases as well as spending cuts, we will never be able to sustain popular and important programs like Medicare and Medicaid.”

Also on the horizon are steep cuts to reimbursements to hospitals for patients on Medicare under the federal health reform law. From 2011 to 2019, that is expected to cost hospitals in Maine $879 million, according to the MHA.

The federal health reform law also brings financial rewards for states that lower costs through better management and coordination of health care.

Tax credits that help small businesses to insure their employees and the law’s mandate that larger companies provide health insurance or pay a fine will benefit health care providers, Jeff Austin, vice president of government affairs and communications for MHA, said Wednesday.

“To the extent more coverage is provided, hospitals are better off,” he said.

Joel Allumbaugh, a health policy expert at the Maine Heritage Policy Center, said government-managed health care, such as the Medicare and Medicaid programs, controls costs by cutting reimbursements rather than solving underlying problems.

“Our current hospital system in Maine sustaining status quo is not a win,” he said. “This speaks to the need to both reduce government’s role in health care and realign our delivery system. Payment reform that rewards value and true transparency to inform patients are foundational to our success. The current cost structure is an emergency; I think it is critical that be balanced with any discussion about hospitals seeing reduced funding.”

Another perceived threat to hospitals’ bottom lines is a big pay cut in store for doctors who treat Medicare patients. The pay cut has little support in Washington but forces a scramble for money each year — the formula used to fund Medicare hasn’t appropriated enough money to cover the program’s costs for about a decade. So Congress repeatedly steps in to delay, avert or shrink the pay cut in an annual ritual known as the “doc fix.”

Maine hospitals, which employ about half of all doctors in the state, say the cut would total $100 million. While Congress is unlikely to allow the pay cut to happen, finding the money to restore doctors’ pay could lead to other hospital cuts, the association said.

At the state level, tighter eligibility requirements for MaineCare, the state’s Medicaid program, will stress hospitals, the association said. Hospitals will have to foot the bill when patients who lose MaineCare coverage show up for treatment.

The state also owes hospitals about $450 million, debt that has accumulated since 2009 as hospitals continue to serve Medicaid patients without being fully reimbursed by the state.

“We’re continuing to hope for a plan to pay the debt,” Austin said.

Jackie Farwell

I'm the health editor for the Bangor Daily News, a Bangor native, a UMaine grad, and a weekend crossword warrior. I never get sick of writing about Maine people, geeking out over health care data, and...

166 replies on “Maine hospitals warn of substantial job losses from federal Medicare cuts”

  1. So if this is the case were the money coming from for the buyout in Blue Hill Hospital. I thought you could not offer buyouts with state or federal money’s.

  2. This can’t possibly be. obamacare is supposed to create jobs & be the engine of economic growth, as we rocket past a debt of $16trillion.

    1.  …but it won’t be in full effect until 2014. I Blame Boehner for obstructing progress, not a healthcare system so new that it hasn’t been fully tested yet.

      1. So explain the problem with getting a budget passed from the 2 years when Democrats had the super-majority please.

          1. Oh so can you explain to me how the Democrats tried to change it in 2011,
            and the vote was 84-12 not to?  Um, I’m pretty sure that there are NOT
            84 Republicans in the Senate.  Thanks for playing! 

        1.  Simple the, Republicans held Congress from 1994-2006 and rigged the filibuster rules. If you’ll remember, they pretended to try to kill the filibuster, and in the process, ended up simplifying the rules, making it easier for a single senator to hold up a bill anonymously, and require 60 votes for cloture,  to release that hold. Democrats had a shaky 60 vote super-majority for all of four months and one week. During those four months and one week, Congress was in session for a total of 72 days. So for 72 days the Democrats held a 60 seat, filibuster-proof super-majority in the United States Senate. If you are really interested in the truth it is so easy to find it in computer land. So please in the future when in doubt, research what your spewing. Just so you don’t look silly when your passing on misguided rhetoric.

          1. Oh so can you explain to me how the Democrats tried to change it in 2011, and the vote was 84-12 not to?  Um, I’m pretty sure that there are NOT 84 Republicans in the Senate.  Thanks for playing!

          2. Senators settled on a measure to prevent single lawmakers from anonymously holding up legislation and nominations. It was not just the Demos it was also Repubs that tried to change rules. Not enough to change so they just settled. And why would the Demos want to change it. They will use it when its their turn to just like the Repubs have been doing. And a bang up job at that. And your welcome!

      2. You can’t really blame Boehner, he lost control in 2010 of his house when the tea-party of NO came aboard. And they are controlled by the monies of such as the Koch’s and there cronies. Big money in our political system will annihilate all. Even what is left of the reasonable and dedicated Republicans are not so sure of what is happening to their party. They are going to hell in a hand basket and the slope has been greased by millions and millions of dirty Kochie money. And you are right that the new program for the health care system has little to do with whats going on now. It has very little implementation, and will not until 2014. I feel that the American public has put away there fraidy cat face and becoming fully aware of what lies has been fed to them.  

    1.  Why can’t you tell the truth?  Is it willful ignorance or do you enjoy a casual relationship with the truth?  The truth hurts, but Obama cut medicare by 716 billion to fund Obamacare.  Complain, lie or just put your head in the sand – the truth is the truth, sorry pal…

      1. I wasn’t aware that the Galts of this world cared about underfunding Medicare, or anybody but themselves for that matter.

      2. Medicare’s money isn’t being taken away. The Affordable Care Act calls for slowing the growth in spending, a move that,  if successful,  would keep the hospital insurance trust fund solvent for longer than if the reductions didn’t happen. More savings come from streamlining administrative costs. It does that by reducing payments to Medicare hospitals and doctors, essentially ratcheting down the amount they receive when they see a patient. You tell a lie long enough it becomes reality in the mind of the accuser. Closed minded people will not seek out the value of what is true or not.

    2. Feel free to write a personal check to the hospital of your choice.  Oh, I forgot – liberals are very stingy with their money while demanding others empty their pockets. 

      Get a clue, the country is in $16T debt, inflation has begun to kill what’s left of people’s paychecks, and your brainless president had congress all to himself and accompished nothing.

      1.  your statement holds true for the first six months of the first term of the Obama Administration…then it holds true for the last three-and-a-half years for the GOP obstructionists
        subsequently elected to congress by fear-mongers like you.

        1. Wrong!  A simple google of “when did the democrats lose the supermajority” shows the election of Nov. 2010.  Try again.  

    1. As Mark Rubio so eloquently state at the convention- “the only change we got was that hope was harder to find.”

    2. How is this Obama’s Fault? I don’t get it. The Republicans are the ones that want to cut spending. They want they government to do this, and if elected will cut even more spending?

    3. The Hope was that people would see the light of day and back him in 2010, Instead we got a change of Congress to Obstructionist!

      After all he said Yes “We” Can, Not Yes “I” can!

      Get out and Vote a full Democrat Ticket in 2012 to get us back on the right path!

      Obama—2012

      1. The change came in 2010 because the Democrats were ineffective at accomplishing a darn thing while they had the Super-majority in congress.  Taking ownership of your parties issues while pointing a finger at the opposing party would go a long way toward making your comments credible.  Both parties are responsible for the mess we are in!

        1. The Change came as a Coup De Gras by a handful of billionaires stirring up hate and discontent as their ally with millions of dollars in Propaganda and mind control from, Limbaugh , Hannity, Beck, ect ect ect.

          How do you think Mussolini did it?

          Plant radical ideas into the masses and use them for a take over in power.

    1. Euthanasia is already legal, it is called hospice.  I have watched morphine given to my family members to help them through the end.  It hastens death and thus saves Medicare & insurance payments.

      1.  yes it is. I know of a 35 yr old woman who was in terrible pain with cancer. She tried everything to go without pain. Finally told the doctor to give her “the shot.” The doctor told her in advance that if necessary at the end that a shot could be given to end her suffering.

      2. Hospice is not euthansia.  It helps people live the most comfortable, peaceful life they can until they die.  Hospice patients are not all on morphine, contrary to public belief. Yes, some are, and this morphine helps them live without pain, which in turn helps them enjoy what life they have left.  The Hospice Medicare benefit helps provide much needed assistance to patients and families at one of the most crucial times in their lives.  It provides nursing, nursing aid, physicians and many other benefits and still allows patients and families to go out in the world and enjoy their life to the fullest.  It is a proven fact that most hospice patients actually lives a little longer and with more dignity and less pain with these supports in their lives.

      3. and your point is what?  Would you rather that they didn’t have painkillers to ease the suffering of their terminal illness—every body dies–the best thing you can hope for is that when your time comes, it is as quick and painless as possible

        1. My point is that it hastens death.  I watched my sister-in-law of sound mind and little pain be administered morphine.  The morphine dose was doubled every few hours until she was completely out and then went into labored breathing and within 24 hours was dead.  I know she was going to die eventually but maybe in a week, month who knows.  When you are terminal the plan is to get it over with as soon as possible.  I agree on the painkillers when needed.  If you have ever watched this procedure you would understand and not be critical of someone else’s opinion.  

          1. I watched my step mom die from cancer.  She took the morphine which helped ease her passing.  Your sister in law had that choice to take it or not–her choice, not yours.

    2. In the Affordable Care Act it is known as end of life counseling. Even if you are not terminal, but are old and not productive anymore (that means you don’t work and are retired), your family must sit listening to people who are numbers crunchers explain why the elderly patient should not receive the expensive treatment and should do everyone a favor and die peacefully without putting up a fight.

      1. Entirely erroneous. End of life counseling has to do with making sure people who are extremely ill and/or elderly give some rational thought to how they wish to be treated–or not–when their illness becomes terminal. Do they want vital signs preserved at all cost, via tube feeding and respirators, for example, for as many years as necessary? Do they want DNR in their charts? Do they want to discuss a living will? Hospice care? It’s about empowering people. It’s a discussion with their physician, not with a “number cruncher.” Such a discussion takes time, and the ACA provided for reimbursement for this time.

        But it was removed from the ACA because of Republican lies–like the lies you swallowed whole and have just shared here. There have been efforts to reinstate it, but Republican leaders use the topic to inflame people against something any rational person wants.

        1.  The last seven years of my aunt’s life she was a vegetable.I’m sure if she had communicated her wishes,those six years wouldn’t have happened.Nursing homes love people like that-$300/day for minimal care.They wish she would’ve gone on for another decade.This and the “life is precious”morons are bankrupting us.

          1. GP, read my reply to Liz which is right above yours. You may get your wish for someone to end your life without giving you a fighting chance. Perhaps people  who prefer to die could simply sign a statement allowing themselves the right to pass on quickly even if there is a cure—forget about it just tell them you want to go. DNR’s are already available. People may refuse treatment and that was already available. The real problem is that in less than two years, your choices will not be a determining factor in your medical care—Is that what you really want? Yes, communicating her wishes was on her—but this new decision making process could cost people their lives prematurely just to save a few bucks. Sad, isn’t it?

          2. Let’s look at the “few bucks”you skip over.$300/day X 365 days X 6 years=$657,000.That is far far more than she paid in even accounting for not a dime spent before she went in.Multiply $657K X all the baby boomers retiring every day.There’s your deficit.You are right about DNR’s and honest discussions not happening enough.The system was flawed at setup since we don’t have lifetime caps(which we desperately need)and we DO have caps on the amount of taxed income.Completely backwards.I’ve worked in nursing homes-it is a license to print money for an unscrupulous operator or chain.

        2. Not republicans, but physicians provided me with a better view of what will happen when Obamacare is fully implemented. Pre-Obama care, a physicial made a decision based on his expertise as a doctor. Yes, insurance companies reserved the right to make approvals for the treatment. An experienced physician’s treatment decisions were accepted. With Obamacare, mechanisms are already in place to thwart the expert opinion of the physician with treatment. After Obamacare is fully implemented, the real nightmare will begin for everyone who bought into it as the best thing since sliced bread. As one doctor put it:
               –the hospital’s CFO, usually a notorious bean counter to control costs
               –the hospital compliance officer—to make sure docs follow the Obamacare reglations which
               are “incredibly complex”
               –a full-time compliance officer—due to the complexity
               –independent advisory payment board member—these are the people who were already in
               place who wee making judgmenst regarding the cost benefit ratio of treatment–physicians
               thought the information gathered would be used to help not stop treatment–for example if
               only 25% of patients respond well to a particular treatment, then it is not cost effective—but
               what if my life is saved because I am one of the 25% who was saved—they don’t care
               I still would be not offered that treatment if I were older/retired—
               –medical ecords must go digital—every single medicare record can be accessed by  data
               miners because Obamacare allows them complete access into your medical records–they
               do not need any permission because the law allows it
          Between the patient and physician will be everyone else determining what will be done, but not you nor your doctor. 

          1. Where are the facts that will prove what you are saying? I highly doubt what you have stated. Sounds like an upset money hungry doctor told you that tall tale.

          2. *There is already a hospital compliance officer–usually several of them in large medical centers. They are already experienced at dealing with complex rules and regulations.
             
            *Insurance bureaucrats whose ONLY motive is making sure their company makes a profit are currently making major decisions about your healthcare. For example, they quickly decline to pay for anything remotely “experimental” even if your doctor highly recommends it. Their cost-benefit ratio has to do with their own bottom  line, NOT with your health.
             
            *Obamacare creates a 15-member Independent Payment Advisory Board to suggest ways to limit Medicare’s spending growth. This does NOT not make decisions on individual cases. They are not bureaucrats. The law  requires them to be doctors, other medical professionals, health care management experts, and representatives for consumers and seniors. The Board has NO say in whether any individual receives dialysis, chemotherapy or any other treatment. It is barred by Section 3403 of the health care law from making policy recommendations that would block patients from needed care. [http://www.politifact.com/ohio/statements/2012/mar/19/pat-boone/pat-boone-says-health-care-advisory-board-can-rati/; also see http://www.politifact.com/new-jersey/statements/2012/aug/30/chris-christie/chris-christie-says-national-health-care-law-puts-/%5D
             
            As for electronic medical records–“”The records would be held by physicians and providers — there is no such ‘federal health record’ on all Americans being compiled by the government,” said Deven McGraw, director of the health privacy project at the Center for Democracy and Technology, a group that follows electronic privacy issues. The Department of Health and Human Services “is not establishing a record for each person — they are administering a program whereby physicians and hospitals can establish electronic medical records for their patients.” [http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2010/aug/30/ann-marie-buerkle/ann-marie-buerkle-gop-candidate-says-under-new-hea/]

        3. …used to be one had to have this conversation privately and then quantify it in a legal document to be used by family and courts in the event of an inability to communicate such as emergency or a coma…So, once again a measure that will give everyone equal  protections instead of just those with time and money to hire a lawyer has been obfuscated and obstructed by those representing the wealthiest 1% of Americans. Atrocious.

        1. Planning for your death is on you and up to you, but the solution to planning already exists with living wills and DNR’s. Physicians and patients should have the right to decide what treatment is appropriate—Obamacare, when fully implemented, will take that right from you and your physician.

           Not republicans, but physicians provided me with a better view of what
          will happen when Obamacare is fully implemented. Pre-Obama care, a
          physicial made a decision based on his expertise as a doctor. Yes,
          insurance companies reserved the right to make approvals for the
          treatment. An experienced physician’s treatment decisions were accepted.
          With Obamacare, mechanisms are already in place to thwart the expert
          opinion of the physician with treatment. After Obamacare is fully
          implemented, the real nightmare will begin for everyone who bought into
          it as the best thing since sliced bread. As one doctor put it:
               –the hospital’s CFO, usually a notorious bean counter to control costs
               –the hospital compliance officer—to make sure docs follow the Obamacare reglations which
               are “incredibly complex”
               –a full-time compliance officer—due to the complexity
               –independent advisory payment board member—these are the people who were already in
               place who wee making judgmenst regarding the cost benefit ratio of treatment–physicians
               thought the information gathered would be used to help not stop treatment–for example if
               only 25% of patients respond well to a particular treatment, then it is not cost effective—but
               what if my life is saved because I am one of the 25% who was saved—they don’t care
               I still would be not offered that treatment if I were older/retired—
               –medical ecords must go digital—every single medicare record can be accessed by  data
               miners because Obamacare allows them complete access into your medical records–they
               do not need any permission because the law allows it
          Between the patient and physician will be everyone else determining what will be done, but not you nor your doctor.

          1.  Doctors will always do what is in their personal interest and not what is best for the patient.   Most of the time those two things coincide but if it comes down to you or them, you will get what they want not what you think you need.

      2.  ..you confuse the Affordable Care Act with the Canadian Healthcare System where everyone gets free pills but people with terminal illnesses die waiting for treatment…No rhetoric, its true. Look it up.

        1. And, do you believe that Obamacare is not headed in the same direction? Ask your own physician what he/she thinks of the regulations under Obamacare that will take full effect in 2014. 

  3. Guess the writer forgot about the dems run the senate, oh ya theat harry reed guy has the power to table a bill or bring it to the floor, where is that in this story.  Nope its only the repubs fault.

    1. The Repubs run the House. That’s where the financials/budgets are done. That’s why we are in this mess because they’ve put up a wall of obstruction.

        1.  Why educate yourself on the Senate rules!  Here you go again! The Senate needs 60 votes to get a bill out of committee. If the Republicans don’t want a vote ,”Guess what will happen” ! 

          1. You are so right, but Republicans were the ones obstructing anything to get done. Heck they even said no to their own party members. Now tell me how do you work with such characters. You don’t.

          2. I guess I’m not the only one that needs educating!  “Once the bill is introduced into the House or the Senate, it is then
            assigned to an appropriate committee in that chamber. Within the
            committee
            process, it is assigned to a subcommittee for specific consideration. If
            the subcommittee discusses and approves it, the bill goes on to be
            discussed
            by the full committee. If the subcommittee either does not discuss the
            bill or discusses the bill and decides against it (or “kills” it), the
            bill “dies” in subcommittee and is never even discussed by the full
            committee,
            let alone the full Congress”

    2.  …and yet the GOP was able to ram Citizens United v. FEC through the courts with help from lobbies and special interest groups…thank God for Harry Reed!

  4. If they want to reduce the federal deficit, stop making generous payments to countries such as Libya, Egypt and others that hate this country and kill our State Department people stationed there.  Hopefully Romney will fix the problem if he gets elected.  Oblama certainly is doing nothing about it.

    1. Romney will get us in another war with Iran since the current war is almost over, and we will have to cut medicare altogether to keep fighting.  We just need a single payer system like the rest of the developed world.  

      1. As we speak on here, there are navy ships on their way. It doesn’t matter which of the two major parties is in power. not really. We help out all those oppressed people over there, you remember, the ones that hate us. The Region is destabilized even more, and then Americans get killed. It starts out in small numbers at first, then the conflict grows and grows.
        This is not a Democrat or Republican thing. It’s an Elitist thing when those that start the wars don’t have to worry about 1:actually fighting themselves, and 2: having one of their own children fighting and/or dying.

  5. The current Commander in Chief is a Democrat. Warships are on their way to Libya right now as we are on here complaining to each other. Do you actually think that those in power in Washington DC actually give two craps about what any of us think? Both sides of the isle are elitist. But as long as we fight amongst ourselves they maintain power. Period.

    1. Nice comment, I agree if we did not need arab oil we could pull all of our embassises and personnel out of these god forsaken middleast stink holes and let them kill themselves. We continue to be the world policeman and take the brunt of anger from the muslims. After all the money we spent there they still target us. Why not target China and Russia? Those embassies are fine. I am one taxpayer that is sick and tiredof seeing our service people killed and out fortunes squandered for these radical muslim idiots. Let em rot and bring our people and resources home!!

  6. Republicans have been working to destroy Medicaid and Medicare and to give our retirement savings to a bunch of crooks on Wall st.  
     

      1.  U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson proposed a plan under which the U.S. Treasury would acquire up to $700 billion worth of mortgage-backed securities.[21] The plan was immediately backed by President George W. Bush and negotiations began with leaders in the U.S. Congress to draft appropriate legislation.
        President Bush meets with Congressional members, including presidential candidatesJohn McCain and Barack Obama, at the White House to discuss the bailout, September 25, 2008.[22]
        Consultations among Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Christopher Cox, congressional leaders, and President Bush, moved forward efforts to draft a proposal for a comprehensive solution to the problems created by illiquid assets. News of the coming plan resulted in some stock, bond, and currency markets stability on September 19, 2008.[23][24]
        The proposal called for the federal government to buy up to US$700 billion of illiquid mortgage-backed securities with the intent to increase the liquidity of the secondary mortgage markets and reduce potential losses encountered by financial institutions owning the securities.[25] The draft proposal was received favorably by investors in the stock market, but caused the U.S. dollar to fall against gold, the Euro, and petroleum. The plan was not immediately approved by Congress; debate and amendments were seen as likely before the plan was to receive legislative enactment.[26][27][28]

          1. If you cut and paste it I’m sure you will find the article. Or did you just want to defect from the facts I posted?:)

          2. If you ever suspect someone of cut and pasting a news article on a forum you can just select the post and right click then choose to search. It depends on your browser exactly how it would be worded.
              FYI it isn’t plagiarism to  cut and paste public documents unless you change the text to make it look like you wrote it.  
             

      2. Which please read about. We just Made 12.4 Billion on the AGI Bailout by recently selling the government shares. The Stimulous was oil in the machine just to keep it from seizing up. If you read about the stimulous, yes it didn’t create as many jobs as we were told, but it sure did save a lot of jobs. Some economist even argue that the stimulous wasn’t big enough. 

      3.  Yes, he did, and saved the country doing it. It’s a mark of just how severe the problems caused by trickle-down economics practices had become as a result of the Bush Administration and yes, I am blaming the Bush Administration for our problems.  The fact that the Obama Administration’s actions in the face of such enormous financial disaster haven’t re-inflated the
        economic growth bubble of the mid-2000’s doesn’t mean that they have failed in any respect.

    1. Why give it to Wall St.  it’s way more fun to give it to people that wear adult diapers and want to be fed with a bottle at the ripe old age of 24…yup take a look at how much of your retirement money is being handed out to those that are “disabled” like the (true story) young man in California that is collecting it because of his “issue”.

      1. Republican are all worried about the crooks who steal a few thousand but they selected one of the biggest crooks in America to run for President.

        1. I agree 100%, I always thought tax evasion was a crime, if it was you or me we would be in jail, instead this guy wants to run our country, its crazy. can’t imagine voteing for him.

        2. Didn’t realize being a self made man made you a crook.  Hey maybe we should just do what France did and raise the income tax to 75% of millionaires income.  Oh wait, that wouldn’t do us any good because our Congress was the one that made investment income taxable at a completely different rate from earned income.  And talk about “crooks” how about all of those people that pay nothing into the system or very little into the system and collect HUGE tax returns?  

          1.  Thank you for remembering those nuns.For 2012 support “Nuns On The Bus”-the finest people in America.

      2. I don’t often agree with you the BIG problem in this country is people under 40 who are afraid of their shadows and are collecting huge $$ for “mental disabilities”EVERY one of them needs to be investigated for fraud but it won’t happen.If we restricted SS/Medicare to those who have worked the requisite time and have a provable physical issue,both programs would have a surplus to infinity.(Exception:minor children of those who gave their lives in the service of our country and who aren’t adequately taken care of by the VA)

      1. But the republicans are yelling about cutting spending. So you could say that Obama is the one that compromised. 

        1. The compromise occurred because the Dems didn’t care who they threw under the bus to be able to raise the debt ceiling.

        2. If Obama was such a great “leader” he would stand his ground on important issues like this one, instead he signs a bill into law then blames someone else, oh wait he is ALWAYS blaming someone else. That poor excuse for a man would’t take the blame for anything.

    1. Obama would have done anything to get his Affordable Care Act passed- even to the point of making the a lot LESS affordable for those dependent on Medicare. Great plan, huh?  The cuts had to come from somewhere. Education?? Green Energy?? The First Lady’s $10 million vacation budget??

      Obama agreed to THIS plan. Because his healthcare reform was more important than Medicare, and because he couldn’t handle cutting $$$ from another source. Blame Republicans all you want- but you’ve got the whole story twisted!

  7. Maine Heritage Policy Center guy: Our current hospital system in Maine sustaining status quo is not a win,” he said. “This speaks to the need to both reduce government’s role in health care and realign our delivery system. Payment reform that rewards value and true transparency to inform patients are foundational to our success. The current cost structure is an emergency; I think it is critical that be balanced with any discussion about hospitals seeing reduced funding.”   WHAT DOES THIS DOUBLE SPEAK CRAP MEAN?

    The current cost structure is an emergency

    The current Governor founded by Maine Heritage IS AN EMERGENCY.

  8. Here we go again. All the displaced factory workers in Maine went back to school for the medical field. Now, they are going to lose those jobs too. What should they go back to school for next? Unemployment counselor? What about all the people who are currently enrolled in school for the medical field? I guess they will be working for WalMart trying to pay off student loans as well.

  9. There is enough blame to go around to both political parties and for every member of congress who continue to fail to use the words “Yes, we can!”. Teamwork, folks, before the ship of state sinks.

      1. Where do you think the money for Obamacare came from? We are TRILLIONS of dollars in debt. There is no money to go around.  The President knew that his healthcare reform had to be funded from something- THIS is what HE agreed to. Meanwhile, the Obama’s can spend $10 million on vacations in one fiscal year. Or the $528 million given to (and wasted on) Solyndra? All of that cash would have really benefited these hospitals right about now….

  10. Happy now,TPers?too bad decent people have to suffer and die since you’re too cheap to pay for basic services.
    Read the last line in the article about more debt accumulating since 2009.That would be under LePage’s watch.Nice work on job creating Paulie!And Allumbaugh is nothing but an insurance puppet.His columns in the BDN are disgusting.

    1. Unfortunately, Obamacare was more into having even more people in administration between the patient and real care. It even has provisions for the hiring of thousands more IRS agents. What do they have to do with good medical care. Instead, we get rid of caregivers and replace them with pencil pushers who never actually see a patient.

      1. That’s what he had to settle for because the Republicans didn’t want a single payor system. Blame them.

        Subject: [bdn] Re: Maine hospitals warn of substantial job losses from federal Medicare cuts

        1. And, I don’t want a single payer system. If we go to that, medical care will be rationed. As in all socialized medicine, only the productive person (that excludes the retired and disabled) are first in line for any kind of treatment. If you are retired or disabled, you wait until they call for you. That system is fine for the young, healthy worker, but does not work for anyone else. Who would want to be a physician in that kind of system—therefore, they are in need of more doctors. Go figure.

          1. That’s only the fair way. I’m sick of Insurance Companies taking their profits for my health care. If that money was put into healthcare it wouldn’t have to be rationed.
            Subject: [bdn] Re: Maine hospitals warn of substantial job losses from federal Medicare cuts

  11. Brace yourselves! A lot of the $16 trillion is spent right here at home on all of us.  We’ve been living beyond our means for a long time and it’s time to pay up.  R or D, there ain’t no easy way out!

    1. ” We ” are liveing beyond our means when the CEO’s of corporations spend millions to elect politicians that will allow them to reap millions in rewards and tax breaks for sending jobs overseas?

      What we are living through today is the biggest “Bank Heist” in the History of the world!

      I have have to laugh at the Name of the Republican Think Tank, The “Heritage Foundation”!

      They are stealing the  American Heritage of Democracy to Build a Private Foundation of Oligarthy!

      And “Your” Vote Don’t Count unless ” They” want it to!

      1.  If you want some more lies( many more can be found in the health care cesspool)look up AHIP,Karen Ignagni and Billy Tauzin.Despicable creatures.

        1. Former Congressman turned lobbyist Billy Tauzin stars in “Sicko,” a film I still show to my students, because, sadly, it’s still relevant.

    2.  Read the Time cover story this week about how we are all subsidized.Very informative considering the writer is very high income and not like a regular working person.

    1. Sorry to burst your bubble, but medicare cuts were brought to you by democrats who would not budge and were taking a bee-line into Obamacare in which a lot of treatments will be denied.

    2. Medicare funding is now inextricably tied to Obamacare funding. You no longer have the freedom to hold Democrats blameless here.

      1.  The Obama Administration’s healthcare plan eliminates one aspect of Medicare widely known to be ineffective and costly on all accounts and it does so to the benefit of both patient and bureaucracy. Enough with the rhetoric, already.

        1. Nonsense. It cuts $816 Billion of Medicare reimbursements to health care providers, the very people this article purports to address.

  12. This whole thing is a result of failure of leadership. An inability to compromise. President Obama has yet to learn the lessons of the 2010 elections. He still thinks its January 2009 when the Republicans  met to compromise on healthcare and the stimulus. President Obama said “I won the election.” meaning that he didn’t need to compromise.  The Democrats have not won a major election since and still Obama is unable to reach across the aisle and now seeks to rule through executive order only. The result is messes like this.

  13. Affordable healthcare but unfortunately no hospitals, clinics or healthcare providers still open and employed to give it!!

  14. Republican Crash and Burn Government!
     
    This is what they mean by “Government Needs to get out of their way” !
     
    Bush Crashed the Economy and Now they want to finish it off with a Torch!

  15. Do you ever read a newspaper that is printed in Northern Europe? 

    In Dutch or Swedish newspapers one reads that, with the exception of a few Americans, most of the people in the world realize that it is impossible for the United States to allocate about half of its annual budget to past, present and future wars, drastically cut taxes for the super-rich, and then have enough money for roads and education and healthcare.

     Reading newspapers that are not owned by billionaires helps one understand the reason we see headlines like this: “Maine hospitals warn of substantial job losses from federal Medicare
    cuts”

    The humble Farmer

  16. The other problem is that these Medicare cuts are nearly all on the providers.Wealthy elderly are still riding the gravy train with their “financial advisors” showing them how to hide everything so they can live off the taxpayer for decades while their kids drive new trucks.I’ve seen it more than once-while we go crazy about some food stamp person emptying out water bottles.Both are theft but one is pennies and the other is hundreds of thousands of dollars per person.

  17. Another benefit brought to you by those people who have the same line of thinking that Landslide LePage and the Republicans have.  Its their jobs program. But, that’s o.k. as long as those who make over 250K get another tax break.

      1.  Naughty, naughty, naughty you haven’t been reading your history.  You seem to have forgotten the Republican pigheadedness during the debt ceiling expansion.  That finally led to the creation of a bipartisan committee to find areas that could be slashed lowering the national debt.  The failure of that bipartisan committee led to the sequester which is what this article was about.  I’m ashamed of you.

  18. Does anyone want to bet on who will not be seriously impacted by the reductions? I’ll take the overpaid administrators and give you the rest of the healthcare workers. Any takers? Didn’t think so.

  19. No one to blame but ourselves. Any business or individual  dependant on federal or state money is doomed to failure. All these promises since the 20’s are about to come to a head.  Next to go is student loans that have served to enslave a whole generation.  Don’t worry QEIII is right around the corner.

  20. If you voted for Obama, you voted for Obamacare, which cuts payments to hospitals and doctors. God help you when you need future care but you are denied that care. We saw it firsthand when a relative, a WWII vet, was denied treatment because she was “too old.” She was a nurse on a ship in WWII, caring for wounded troops. The government said they had a limited budget and had to spend the money on vets in their 60’s, not ones in their 80’s. Vets have received rationed healthcare for a long time now and we’re all going to be the victims of rationing under Obamacare.

  21. Typical liberal response- you can’t compete in the arean of ideas, so you always revert back to name-calling.  The Tea Party does want cuts because our kids won’t live long enough to pay the exploding debt being run up in Washington- by Democrats AND Republicans, alike.  Barack Obama has added another 5 TRILLION dollars to the national debt in just 3 1/2 years.  That’s not monopoly money- it’s the money your kids should have to purchase their own homes, the money for their college educations, the money for small business to expand and provide jobs for them.  You need to go back and take a look at the promises Barack Obama made in 2008.  He has continued to blame George Bush, ATM’s, natural disasters, and anbody but himself for the sorry state of our economy.  For fully the first two years of his presidency he had a super-majority in Congress, yet he has failed to put forth a budget.  Pelosi and Reid continued to blame Republicans, despite having had that same super-majority.  They couldn’t even pass the healthcare legislation in the light of day. 

    1. Tell me with a straight face that he could get any kind of fiscal bill passed with a majority of the House being Repubs polluted by the Tea Party!  As far as spending- it seems to only be a problem when there is a Democrat in office.  There has never been a Republican president who cut spending and reduced the debt!  Obama is doing a helluva job considering the mess he incurred. Who was it that has been demanding cuts in entitlements? It sure wasn’t the Dems. Some day you and your kids will need the help of Social Security or Medicare and they won’t have it as an option.

      1.  oh read the reply he had full control for his first to years repubs as you call them could not have stopped him had he really wanted to do anything it was raiser for him to keep every one distracted by name calling and blaming Bush.

        1. If you look at the numbers, in that 2 years the unemployment rate started comming down and has been since.  It would have fell faster if the Repubs in the House hadn’t stonewalled him.  They did more damage to this country than Dubya.  All because thay don’t play well with others.  They were willing to sacrifice the middle class to carry out their vendetta against Obama.

        2.  Here’s a thought for you:  I started to read your reply, but when I realized you don’t even know the difference between “to” “too” and “two,” I decided your opinion is hardly worth my time.  If you want people to take you seriously, get an education, then we will listen.  Until then, stick with the losers:  the Tea Party.

          1.  If there were a spelling test in order to vote,the republic would be in no trouble.Conservatives are illiterate except for Brooks,Will and Parker.Refudiate this.

          2.  Here is a thought for YOU ! Your own grammar and punctuation  need correcting!!   your comment should read like this! …. I started to
            read your reply when, (always use a comma before a when clause)  eliminating the conjunction” but” when I realized you don’t even know
            the difference between “to” “too” and “two,” I decided your opinion is
            hardly worth my time. (You don”t start a sentence with a conjunction ( “if”)    unless your defending your position.  If you want people to take you seriously, get an
            education, then we will listen. (“we”) you don”t have proof that other people will or will  not” read” the comment, not” listen”, difficult to do in a cyber world!!!  Until then, stick with the losers:  the
            Tea Party.          YOU  LOST!!! There are continuing education classes for you   too !!!  and time to join the Coffee party!!!   Advice,You don”t have to be right all the time!!!

  22. So…it comes down to “cut the seniors” or “cut the employees”. When will the people who are paid huge amounts of money to run medical organizations going to become accountable at their own level and when is corporate management in general going to be taught that damaging or ruining working and retired people cannot act as an acceptable substitute for intelligent management? Give back the millions that YOU were paid to be effective executives! YOU failed the system, not the workers and not the retirees. YOU should pay the price for it not the workers and not the retirees.

  23. What did these organizations think about the $816 Billion in Medicare reimbursements taken to  fund Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion?

    1. This has nothing to do with Obamacare – this has everything to do with GOP/Tea Party deficit reduction package they voted for last summer.

      Please try to keep up.

      Yessah

  24. We have a bi-partisan spending problem that spans decades. As much as I have distaste for Obama, Prez W and the 21st century republicans ran up a TON of debt (education, Medicare Rx). Clinton, Bush 41, Reagan, etc. all failed to control spending. 

    (NOTE: The balanced budgets of the 1990s results from the GOP regaining Congress, coupled with the Bush 41/Clinton tax increases AND the Dot-Com/Y2K/Trade with China booms in the 1990s economy. Plus, the Savings and Loan scandal of the early 1990s and its hard impact on the economy faded by the mid-90s. In other words, the economy grew *despite* $1 Trillion in new taxes. W rolled those tax increases back by roughly 35%, compared to rates under Reagan. That led to more economic growth until the housing market collapsed, due to banks giving loans to people who could not afford them and then trying to bury those bad loans in bundles with good loans. Anyway… )We are spending our nation out of existence.We have a outdated, rigid tax code that does not work and does not adapt to the changes in the economy. We have WAY too much spending, sure. But we need to chuck the tax code, begin right-sizing government, and reform entitlements.We just don’t have the money. Taxing the rich (define “rich”, btw) will only get us a few more weeks of revenue to spend in DC, so that’s not the main answer. (Example: Take 100% (!) of the income of people earning $10 Million/year [everything they earn from $10M up] and you STILL can’t balance the federal budget.) Rewrite the tax code. Reform entitlements. Balance the budget and stay within our means. Any business or family that manages its finances like our government will go bankrupt very quickly. And our government is not immune to the laws of economics.We are spending our nation out of existence.

  25.  It’s all the fault of the TPers who won’t pay up.I’m sure since you hate Obama anything that didn’t work out for you,blame it on him.If your story was even possibly true,it would be all over the Fox lie machine.

  26.  MEMO: Canadians are healthier than Americans, and go to doctors less!!! FACT   they do NOT receive FREE   Meds.

  27.  MEMO:   Canadians  are  healthier  than  Americans.  Canadians  go to  the  doctors  less.    Their   medicine is  not FREE.    Fact: terminal people die like anyone else, when it”s their time, unless the DO GOODERS, get their hands on board! Their care is second to none!

    the”ugly

  28. Attention low-information repubicans.

    These cuts are not part of Obamacare.

    These cuts were passed by the John Galt/ Grover Norquist lovin’ fools of the GOP/Tea Party.

    They are part of the deficit reduction agreement that yer queens Rand Paul and Paul Ryan agreed to last summer – after they threatened to throw the global economy into the privy by allowing the US to default on its debt.

    It is the same budget agreement – that the GOP voted for overwhelmingly – that will drastically cut military spending in 2013.

    Stop yer blattin’  – this is yer doin’…

    Yessah

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