Congressmen want Medicaid cuts delayed due to Katrina

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Lawmakers of both political stripes are pressuring members of the Senate Finance Committee to postpone making Medicaid cuts in light of the financial needs of Hurricane Katrina.

The committee is scheduled to introduce legislation by this Sept. 16 that would slice up to $10 billion from Medicaid over four years. So far, committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) and other Republicans have said they want to continue on track with the legislation. The federal cost for relief could be as high as $100 billion.

Four senators, Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Gordon Smith (R-OR) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), sent a letter to Grassley, urging him to delay funding cuts and focus on relief. Also, lawmakers including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) wrote a letter to Republican congressional leaders seeking a postponement.

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