Hospitals, doctors and other Medicare providers will see a 2 percent cut in government reimbursements. But they aren't complaining because the pain could be a lot worse if there was a deal to reduce federal deficits. The automatic cuts would reduce Medicare spending by about $100 billion over a decade. But Obama had put on the table $400 billion in health care cuts, mainly from Medicare. Republicans wanted more. O
Obama's health overhaul law is expected to roll out on time and largely unscathed by the cuts. Part of the reason is that the law's major subsidies to help uninsured people buy private health coverage are structured as tax credits. So is the Affordable Care Act's assistance for small businesses. Tax credits have traditionally been exempted from automatic cuts.
â¿¿NATIONAL PARKSVisiting hours at all 398 national parks probably will be cut and sensitive areas blocked off to the public. Thousands of seasonal workers looking for jobs would not be hired, according to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. Salazar and National Park Service director Jon Jarvis said visitors would encounter locked restrooms, fewer rangers and trash cans emptied less frequently. â¿¿WHITE HOUSE TOURS The administration is canceling tours of the White House beginning Saturday, citing staffing reductions. House Speaker John Boehner says Capitol tours will continue. â¿¿FEDERAL WORKERS More than half of the nation's 2.1 million government workers may be required to take furloughs if agencies are forced to trim budgets. At the Pentagon alone that could mean 800,000 civilian workers; other federal agencies are likely to furlough several hundred thousand more. â¿¿NUCLEAR CLEANUP Federal budget cuts may disrupt efforts to close the radioactive waste tanks currently leaking at Hanford Nuclear Reservation and lead to layoffs or furloughs among workers there. The Department of Energy estimates that it will have to eliminate $92 million for the Office of River Protection at Hanford, which will result in furloughs or layoffs impacting about 2,800 contract workers. Other high-risk sites facing work delays are the Oak Ridge Reservation in Tennessee, Savannah River Site in South Carolina and the Idaho National Laboratory.