"This profession needs a break to return as healthy contributors to economic growth while delivering quality-driven healthcare."
The 2 percent cut is part of the so-called "sequester," a package of automatic cuts negotiated as part of the August 2011 budget deal.
The new law to ease the most painful effects of the "fiscal cliff" delayed the sequester for two months, ensuring Washington will start 2013 still embroiled in negotiations over how to cut spending.
Nursing homes were cheerier about the deal than hospitals, which saw reductions in order to pay for a one-year "doc fix."
Hospital advocates lamented the move as robbing "hospital Peter to pay for fiscal cliff Paul," in the words of Chip Kahn, head of the Federation for American Hospitals, who said the cuts would jeopardize patient care.