On Dec. 10, House and Senate budget negotiators said they reached an agreement on a two-year budget deal that would extend the sequester on Medicare payments, a 2% cut to reimbursements for health care providers, by two years.

(CMS retains 12% cut in drug payments for ESRD care, approves new QIP measures)

The deal would replace about two-thirds of the automatic cuts under budget sequestration, totaling $63 billion for this year and next, and cut the deficit by about $23 billion.

(House passes a temporary SGR fix)

According to a summary of the deal, the sequester extension "saves $28 billion over ten years by requiring the President to sequester the same percentage of mandatory budgetary resources in 2022 and 2023 as will be sequestered in 2021 under current law."

Congressional staffers told Huffington Post that the cuts "boiled down to Medicare providers being the least-painful target."