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Friday, April 29, 2005

ACTION ALERT: Help Preserve Medicaid

This alert is from Health Action NM: ALERT! Federal Budget Agreement Cuts Medicaid

The budget resolution conference agreement has been posted at https://www.house.gov/rules/109hconres95text.pdf. Apparently it includes:

* $10 billion in reconciliation cuts to the Finance Committee which has jurisdiction over Medicaid and a number of low income programs: in the House, $9 billion of these cuts are assigned to Energy and Commerce which includes jurisdiction over Medicaid, and $1 billion would be to Ways and Means, probably intended to come from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp and not low income programs;

* $3 billion in reconciliation cuts to the Agriculture Committee, including food stamps;

* a tight cap on appropriations spending, at the level in the House budget; and

* $70 billion in reconciliation protection for tax cuts.

This week, both the U.S. House and Senate narrowly approved the budget. You can read some of the details on the vote at Daily Kos. Here's what we can do to fight the Medicaid cuts:
This message is from Ellen Pinnes and the Disability Coalition:

Help needed on federal Medicaid battle:
The fight to preserve Medicaid funding in the federal budget continues to broil in Washington. The final outcome of funding is still unsettled, but there's a battle on over a commission to recommend changes to the Medicaid program. This was part of the Smith-Bingaman amendment to the Senate budget resolution, which struck all cuts to the Medicaid budget and instead called for a commission to recommend changes based on sound policy rather than blind cost-cutting. It now looks like a commission will be created.

The sticking point is that the commission could end up being appointed by -- and therefore a tool of -- the Bush Administration. Sen. Smith is holding out for an independent commission from the Institute of Medicine, a respected and nonpartisan group. But it looks like Rep. Heather Wilson is supporting a partisan commission whose members would be appointed by Health & Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt.

Contact Rep. Wilson's office and tell her to join Sen. Smith and insist on an independent commission.

We supported and were grateful for her leadership in getting members of the House, including a large number of Republicans, to oppose Medicaid cuts and support creation of a commission. Those efforts could be for naught if the commission merely does the bidding of the Bush Administration, which has made clear its desire to cut Medicaid spending.

You can call Rep. Wilson's office through the toll-free number (800-828-0498) or at 202-225-6316. Or send an e-mail to Joe Moser, her staff person for health issues, at joe.moser@mail.house.gov.

Thanks for helping to make the voice of the disability community heard!

Ellen Pinnes
The Disability Coalition
PO Box 8251
Santa Fe, NM 87504-8251
Telephone/fax: 505-983-9637

Health Action New Mexico
P.O. Box 40119
Albuquerque, NM 87196
(505) 314-0656

April 29, 2005 at 09:40 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink


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