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2007 budget cuts healthcare spending

Physician Practice Advisor, February 8, 2006

On Monday President Bush unveiled his 2007 budget proposal, which includes a reduction in the Medicare spending growth rate from 7.8% annually to 7.5%, according to a Reuters report. The reduced growth rate will save nearly $36 billion over five years by trimming payment increases to hospitals and freezing payments to nursing homes and some home health services.

The proposed budget also freezes spending for the National Institute of Health (NIH) at $28.6 billion, and some NIH divisions will lose money, according to an Associated Press report. The budget will cut $40 million from the National Cancer Institute, $11 million from the diabetes institute, and $21 million from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Other controversial budget cuts include the elimination of universal newborn hearing screening, a $10 million program that helps states provide hearing tests for poor families, usually administering them before babies leave the hospital.

Click here to read the Reuters article and here to read the Associated Press report.