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Mar
17

Medicaid, Round three

It appears that Medicaid is safe, at least in the Senate, from Pres. Bush’s attempt to cut $14 billion over five years. Smith, Republican Sen. of Oregon, claimed to have enough votes to pass an amendment restoring the dollars, and creating a Commission to study Medicaid.
According to California HealthLine,
“Smith said at least six Republicans support the amendment. A vote is expected as early as Wednesday. According to the Post, the budget resolution’s current language prevents lawmakers from filibustering legislation to implement entitlement cuts, allowing it to be approved by a simple 51-vote majority (Washington Post, 3/16).
Smith said, “I’m afraid of the consequences for the disabled if we do Medicaid reform in a hurry,” adding, “I’m specifically … concerned about how Medicaid cuts are first made against mental health coverage” (Schuler, CQ Today, 3/15).
However, the House may be a different story. Representatives are not sanguine about the possibilities of reaching agreement on a budget compromise if the amendment passes the Senate. In fact, HealthLine goes on to state:
“The House Budget Committee on March 9 proposed a FY 2006 budget resolution that would require the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over Medicaid, to find $20 billion in savings over five years ”
This bout may be a long one.


Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates

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