Senate, House Budget Committees To Propose Budget Plans With Reduced Medicaid Funds
The Senate Budget Committee on Wednesday plans to propose a fiscal year 2006 budget plan that would reduce funds for Medicaid by as much as $14 billion over five years, the Washington Post reports. The House Budget Committee on Wednesday also plans to propose a budget plan that would reduce funds for Medicaid (Murray/Weisman, Washington Post, 3/9).
In his FY 2006 budget plan, President Bush proposed revisions to Medicaid that he estimated would save $60 billion over ten years and $14 billion over five years, compared with $9 billion over five years estimated by the Congressional Budget Office last week. Senate Budget Committee Chair Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) said that the budget plan proposed by the committee likely will track the savings estimated by Bush (California Healthline, 3/8).
Republicans this week have sought to portray the proposed reduction in funds for Medicaid as "restrained," the Post reports. According to House Budget Committee aides, the proposed $14 billion reduction in funds for Medicaid likely would only reduce estimated spending growth for the program next year by 0.3% -- from 7.6% to 7.3%.
However, opponents maintain that such a reduction in Medicaid spending growth would force states "to curtail benefits, throw people off their Medicaid rolls or shift spending to health care from other programs," according to the Post. Raymond Scheppach, executive director of the National Governors Association, said, "The governors have said all along, 'We don't want arbitrary budget numbers driving policy. We want good, reasoned policy driving the budget numbers'" (Washington Post, 3/9).