Bush Seeks More Funds for Kids’ Health, Cuts to Medicare, Medicaid
President Bush on Monday will release a $3 trillion fiscal year 2009 budget request that would significantly reduce or eliminate spending for dozens of health and other programs but would significantly increase spending for the State Children's Health Insurance Program, the New York Times reports.
HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt on Friday said that the budget request will include a $19.7 billion increase in federal funds for states for SCHIP over the next five years. Under the budget request, spending for SCHIP would increase to $45.1 billion in FY 2013. Leavitt said that the increase would allow SCHIP to provide health insurance for children in families with annual incomes as much as 200% of the federal poverty level, the "original intent" of the program.
The increase would divide the difference between the $5 billion increase that Bush requested last year and the $35 billion increase that Congress sought. "It is not clear when the White House concluded that $19.7 billion was needed, a question that lawmakers are sure to pursue in hearings," the Times reports (Pear, New York Times, 2/1).
Lawmakers and lobbyists likely "will spend the bulk of the week reacting" to a $200 billion reduction in spending for Medicare and Medicaid over five years included in the budget request, CongressDaily reports (Cohn/Strohm, CongressDaily, 2/4). According to CQ Today, hospitals will "bear the brunt of the Medicare cuts," but Bush likely "won't propose cuts to private health plans in the Medicare Advantage program."
Lawmakers and lobbyists predict that "Congress will ignore President Bush's call for significant cuts in Medicare and Medicaid," according to CQ Today (Reichard, CQ Today, 2/1). Congress rejected a smaller reduction last year, and "there's no reason to think they would rise to the challenge in an election year," the AP/Contra Costa Times reports (Taylor, AP/Contra Costa Times, 2/2).