House Republican Group Opposes Reduction in Federal Funds for Medicaid
Forty-three House Republicans on Wednesday sent a letter requesting that House Budget Committee Chair Jim Nussle (R-Iowa) avert Medicaid funding cuts during conference committee negotiations on the fiscal year 2006 budget, CQ Today reports.
The House FY 2006 budget resolution instructs the House Energy and Commerce Committee to find $20 billion in savings over five years, most of which is expected to come from Medicaid. Thirty-seven of the 43 legislators voted in favor of the budget resolution.
The support of the 43 Republicans -- along with House Democrats, who are unanimously opposed to the Medicaid funding reduction -- "could provide the majority needed" to adopt a nonbinding resolution that would instruct House conference committee members to eliminate the Medicaid provision from the FY 2006 budget, according to CQ Today. Many Republican budget writers believe the Medicaid funding reductions are "essential to their effort to rein in mandatory spending," CQ Today reports.
Meanwhile, Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.), who sponsored an amendment to eliminate an instruction for the Senate Finance Committee to find $15 billion in Medicaid cuts, has been negotiating with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) on Medicaid. Smith has said he wants Medicaid cuts to be limited, but he also wishes to support the final budget resolution.
Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) on Wednesday said that the Medicaid cuts could be included in the FY 2006 budget blueprint but delayed until a Medicaid commission has time to study the program (Allen, CQ Today, 4/13).