Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., sounded the alarm on imminent cuts to Medicare on Jan. 24 if Congress does not take action to pass a bill to end what he called the “Trump shutdown.”

Hundreds, if not thousands, of retired citizens of Curry County take advantage of Medicare benefits.

Under federal law, if the cost of legislation at the end of a session of Congress exceeds the total revenue raised, an automatic cut to government programs is implemented to make up the difference unless Congress takes action to prevent those cuts from going into effect.

At the end of 2018, Trump’s Office of Management and Budget estimated that amount to be $482 million dollars, but it is likely higher due to the passage of additional legislation at the end of the year, Wyden said in a press release Tuesday afternoon. Under law, the administration is required to issue a sequestration order — putting the cuts into effect — no later than 14 days after Congress adjourns.

Medicare will bear the brunt of the cuts, Wyden said, which would lead to a shortfall in payments to doctors, hospitals and coverage providers who ensure seniors get care. The House passed legislation last week that would waive these cuts and reopen the government. The Senate has not scheduled any action to take up a government funding bill.

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