Cut to Imaging Made Little Difference in Final Fiscal Cliff Cost

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The fiscal cliff legislation the president signed into law last week contains about $800 million in cuts to advanced medical imaging over 10 years. It’s a figure that boggles the mind, but in the context of the full cost of the legislation, it is miniscule.

The Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the legislation, says the whole fiscal cliff package will increase the nation’s deficit by $4.6 trillion.

I have a hard time wrapping my head around a number this large, so I decided turn it into a measurement I am more familiar with at this time of New Year’s resolutions -- calories.

If every $100 million in the fiscal cliff package was a single calorie, cutting advanced imaging reimbursement by $800 million over 10 years would be like cutting 8 calories from a 46,000 calorie meal.

A 46,000-calorie meal is a little over 306 Twinkies. An 8-calorie meal is less than a small carrot.

Congratulations lawmakers! By cutting advanced imaging once again, you’ve reduced your 306 Twinkie meal by a small carrot stick that had the potential to reduce the overall cost of health care through faster and more accurate diagnosis and treatment. Good job!