It’s crunch time for the Congressional “Super-Committee” on the deficit, and predictably, it ain’t going well. The Super-Committee has until Thanksgiving to come up with its proposal to cut at least $1.5 Trillion from the national debt, and the battle lines are so immovable at this point that Congressional leaders went behind closed doors this weekend to try to avert a disaster. The LA Times covered the impasse here.
As we’ve stated here before we think a failure to vote out a proposal is both likely and preferred for the healthcare industry, especially Medicare Advantage plans. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good outcome for the country. For one, credit agencies have threatened to downgrade the US’ credit rating again if the Super-Committee fails.
The U.S. lost its AAA ranking by Standard & Poor’s for the first time on Aug. 5, following the debt ceiling fiasco. The firm cited political failures to reduce record deficits and weakening “effectiveness, stability and predictability of American policy making and political institutions.” The US has an AAA rating from Moody’s and an AAA ranking from Fitch Ratings with a stable outlook. A failure by the Super-committee to agree on at least $1.2 trillion of cuts would “likely result in negative rating action,” which carries a more than 50 percent chance of downgrade during the next two years, Fitch said Aug. 16 in a statement.
So, thanks again to our leaders on the Hill, we’re facing another terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day as a country on November 23 — and maybe getting a sigh of relief as healthcare executives.