Congress gives cold shoulder to Bush budget

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Lawmakers have been critical of President Bush's FY 2009 budget proposal since its release on Monday.

In hearings held Tuesday by the Senate Budget and Finance Committees, Democrats and Republicans poked holes at the plan. The budget, which would cut Medicaid and Medicare by about $200 billion over five years, is the most severe of Bush's tenure, experts say. Nursing facilities alone would lose $17 billion over five years.

"A realistic budget would reveal the surprising truth that the long-run problem is not an entitlements problem... It's a health care problem," said Max Baucus (D-MT), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.   

Meanwhile, the Coalition to Protect Senior Care and the National Association of Health Care Assistants (NAHCA) will ask Congress today to reject President Bush's proposed cuts to Medicare-financed nursing home care. The two agencies, which represent healthcare assistants, long-term care nurses, and others, will hold a press conference at NAHCA headquarters in Joplin, MO, at 10am CST this morning.