Ideological foes unite to propose health spending cuts

The National Taxpayers Union and the consumer advocates at the U.S. Public Interest Research Group released a joint list of recommendations for the deficit supercommittee, a clear sign that the nation's fiscal woes are forcing ideological foes to seek common ground.

The list includes more than 50 recommendations that together would shave more than $1 trillion off the deficit over the next decade. These include more than $128 billion in savings to government healthcare programs.

Health proposals include:

• Slashing resident training Medicare payments to teaching hospitals ($69.4 billion);

• Reducing Medicare payment rates across the board in high‐spending geographic areas ($47.6 billion);

• Increasing the joint contraction between the Department of Defense and Veterans Administration for the purchase of prescription drugs ($6.6 billion);

• Streamlining the operation of private entities that contract with Medicare to improve the efficiency and quality of services ($3 billion); and

• Preventing improper Medicare payments for chiropractic services that aren't covered by the program ($1.97 billion).