Congress agrees to moratorium on Medicaid rule

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The House and Senate have decided to suspend for one year a proposed rule that would limit Medicaid funding to government-owned healthcare facilities, including nursing homes.

The rule (CMS-2258-P) would restrict the way states are permitted to generate funding for their share of Medicaid costs. Providers have opposed the rule, which would cut at least $4 billion from the Medicaid program over five years. The administration proposed the rule on Jan. 18.

Congress is including the moratorium in a supplemental spending bill for military affairs in Afghanistan and Iran. Lawmakers are expected to vote on it this week and send it to President Bush for approval. Some believe that even if Bush vetoes the bill over military spending issues, the Medicaid funding provision could be inserted into subsequent compromise legislation.