President Bush Will Seek Cuts to Medicare, Medicaid in Budget Plan
President Bush on Monday will release a fiscal year 2009 budget request that includes large reductions in Medicare spending growth and a decrease in Medicaid spending, according to Bush administration officials and budget documents, the New York Times reports.
The budget request will propose legislative changes that would reduce Medicare spending by $6 billion in FY 2009 and by $91 billion over five years. In addition, the request will seek to reduce Medicaid spending by $1.2 billion in FY 2009 and by $14 billion over five years.
Under the budget request, most of the reductions in Medicare spending would result from decreases in annual updates in reimbursement payments to hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, ambulances and home care agencies. The budget request over five years would:
- Reduce by $15 billion annual updates in Medicare reimbursements for inpatient hospital care;
- Reduce by $25 billion special payments to hospitals that serve large numbers of low-income residents;
- Reduce by $20 billion capital payments for the construction of hospital facilities and the purchase of medical equipment; and
- Reduce by $23 billion special payments to teaching hospitals.
According to the Times, health care "savings are a crucial part of Mr. Bush's plan to put the nation on track to achieve a budget surplus by 2012," but congressional Democrats, who "often pronounce Mr. Bush's budget dead on arrival," have "no reason to make unpopular cuts in this election year" (Pear, New York Times, 1/31). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.