Military, Children’s Health Care Get Boost in War Spending Bill
A House and Senate conference committee on Monday approved a $124.2 billion supplemental appropriations bill for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan that includes funds for a number of health care programs, the New York Times reports (Hulse, New York Times, 4/24).
The bill provides an additional $2.1 billion for soldiers' health care, along with an additional $1.8 billion for veterans' health programs. It also provides $650 million to fund State Children's Health Insurance Program shortfalls in 14 states and $663 million to prepare for a possible avian flu pandemic. In addition, the conference committee delayed for one year, down from two, proposed Medicaid rules that would limit certain hospital reimbursements and dropped a provision that would have raised rebates Medicaid collects on some brand-name drugs.
The negotiated bill will be filed on Tuesday for floor consideration in both chambers, with consideration by the House likely to occur on Wednesday and consideration by the Senate on Thursday (Cohn, CongressDaily, 4/24).
However, President Bush last month formally threatened to veto the House and Senate versions of the legislation because of language that would set a timetable for troop withdrawal from Iraq.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said, "As long as the president remains obstinate and his Republican allies stick with him, we will continue to face an uphill climb" (Higa, CQ Today, 4/23).