Here comes sequestration; some cuts start today
Many of us have heard the term sequestration, or the deep cuts that started kicking in April first across the nation. These cuts are an effort by the Federal Government to cut down on their massive debt and spending.
Monday, some of those cuts went into effect.
This week 99,000 people receiving emergency unemployment benefits in Pennsylvania will get letters letting them know their checks will be reduced. This applies only to people receiving emergency unemployment benefits, or after 26 weeks. “Pennsylvania pays for everyone’s unemployment benefits up until 26 weeks.After 26 weeks the federal government stepped in and started making those payments,” said Secretary of Labor and Industry Julia Hearthway. “Whatever you were taking home again past that 26 weeks, so again if you are collecting 27th, 28th, 29th, 30th week, you’re going to get 10.7 percent less.”
The average emergency unemployment check is $350. People will be seeing on average $37 less a check, per week, or around $149 a month.
The changes are set to stay in place until September, and starts the week of April 7th.
“Next week the amount received will be less than this week. Right now the federal government tells us it will extend until September, we don’t know past that,” said Hearthway.
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Monday cuts to Medicare started, that could hurt medical providers. This means Medicare payments to hospitals, doctors and other health care providers will be reduced by 2%. According to Dr. Harold Paz Dean and CEO with Penn State Hershey Medical Center this could have a huge impact. “Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center is deeply concerned about the impact that sequestration will have on programs that are vital to the health of those we serve, including medical research supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Medicare Parts A and B payments,” said Paz.
Cuts to funding to the National Institutes of health could hurt medical research and more. “For NIH, sequestration will result in a $1.5 billion cut to teaching and research hospitals like ours in the first year alone. For our Medical Center and College of Medicine it means a reduction of $4.85 million annually or $1.2 million just for the months of April, May and June,’ said Paz. He goes on to say, “Researchers who cannot get competitive funding in the U.S. may seek other opportunities abroad.”
Medicare cuts will add to the equation. “The 2 percent sequester of Medicare will cut provider payments by $10.7 billion, including more than $1.3 billion in cuts at teaching hospitals and medical schools that are members of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). These cuts could result in the loss of nearly 34,000 jobs at AAMC-member institutions like ours, including those workers directly employed by the health care sector, as well as other jobs supported by the purchases of health care organizations and their employees.” said Paz.
Paz said he doesn’t anticipate the loss of any jobs at Penn State Hershey Medical Center as they plan to look for other ways to cut spending.