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Wisconsin bracing for sequestration effects

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MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - It’s March 1st – and despite all the doomsday talk about “sequestration,” there’s a good chance that your favorite federal program hasn’t been slashed just yet.

But a number of Wisconsin interests continue to brace for what might happen if Congress ends up doing nothing to stop $85 billion in automatic spending cuts which were due to take effect at midnight.

President Obama has summoned top congressional leaders from both parties to a White House meeting Friday.

The Wisconsin Hospital Association warns that a 2 percent cut in Medicare funding takes effect right away – and the group figures it will cost hospitals $2 million a week, or $1 billion over 10 years.

Brian Potter of the hospital association says smaller hospitals will feel the pinch the most, because they serve larger proportions of Medicare patients.

Military facilities will feel a big impact, of course. Wisconsin’s Fort McCoy says 1,500 civilian workers are getting their pay cut 20 percent, by taking one unpaid furlough day per week.

All reports from Washington indicate that it will be a long, slow process for Americans to feel the impact – but when they do, the White House reportedly figures that people will be ready to urge Congress to approve the tax increases President Obama wants.

In the meantime, a larger six month spending bill to fund the government expires March 27th. And if it’s not extended, a government shutdown is a possibility. 

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