Healthcare lobbyists hoping debt super committee fails

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(Reuters) – The powerful healthcare industry hopes a congressional “super committee” tasked with slashing America’s debt will fail and is lobbying instead for automatic spending cuts that will kick in if the panel deadlocks.

Much of the health sector believes the spending cuts, which will be triggered if the committee fails to find at least $1.2 trillion in savings over 10 years, will be less draconian than any deficit-reduction deal, according to lobbyists and healthcare groups interviewed by Reuters.

Under the trigger mechanism — a process called sequestration — automatic spending cuts of $1.2 trillion will begin in 2013. But programs such as the Medicaid healthcare program for the poor and the Social Security retirement program are totally protected from cuts, while Medicare, the healthcare program for the elderly, would face only a 2 percent cut to providers.

Full story: Exclusive: Healthcare lobbyists want debt committee to fail