House Vote on Reconciliation Bill Expected Today
The final House vote on Wednesday on the fiscal year 2006 budget reconciliation bill (S 1932), which includes cuts to Medicaid and Medicare, "will be close," according to lawmakers and aides, the Washington Post reports (Weisman, Washington Post, 2/1).
The bill would save $38.8 billion over five years and $99.3 billion over 10 years. Medicaid and Medicare spending reductions would account for 50% of the savings, with 27% from Medicaid and 23% from Medicare over 10 years.
The House on Dec. 19, 2005, voted 212-206 to approve the bill, but procedural moves in the Senate require the House to vote on the bill a second time before the legislation can move to President Bush for consideration. The Senate on Dec. 21, 2005, voted 51-50 to approve the legislation (California Healthline, 1/30).
Opponents of the bill "hope a last-minute flurry of activity will sink it," and the "top weapon in their arsenal" is a Congressional Budget Office report issued Jan. 27, CQ HealthBeat reports.
The CBO estimated that 45,000 Medicaid beneficiaries would lose their coverage in FY 2010 because of higher premiums included in the bill. CBO estimated 65,000 beneficiaries would lose coverage in FY 2015.
Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) on Tuesday in a "Dear Colleague" letter said the bill is "an attack on working families -- slashing $25 billion over 10 years from their health care coverage while taking nothing away from HMOs and the pharmaceutical industry."
Proponents of the bill say it will give governors flexibility they have requested from the federal government to control Medicaid spending and adjust beneficiaries' coverage (Carey, CQ HealthBeat, 1/31).