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Many liberals were incensed with the debt deal because it included immediate cuts to long-cherished entitlement programs, as well as the prospect of future cuts that will automatically go into place should the supercommittee not reach a compromise.But as The Washington Post’s Sarah Kliff notes, those automatic cuts may not be so bad when compared ot what the supercommittee could do.
For one thing, the automatic cuts — known as the sequestration option — aren’t too bad for entitlement programs, relatively speaking. Medicare would take a $7 billion hit from sequestration next year followed by incremental increases over the years, though that amounts to very little compared to the roughly $519 billion spent on Medicare last year.
Additionaly, the automatic cuts don’t touch Medicaid at all. The supercommittee, however, can propose cuts there as well.
Kliff points to a recent column by Jonathan Kohn in Kaiser Health News, where Kohn presented the same point.
“The impact of automatic cuts would be relatively modest and, most likely, less severe than whatever that super committee would devise as an alternative,” Kohn wrote.