Lawmakers voice objections to proposed budget cuts

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Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND)
Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND)

Sixteen U.S. senators Thursday signed their names on a letter calling for the elimination of $24 billion in Medicare and Medicaid cuts from President Bush's fiscal year 2009 budget.

The letter, which was addressed to Senate Budget Committee Chair Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Ranking Member Judd Gregg (R-NH), comes one day after 76 members of the House of Representatives voiced similar opposition to the proposed budget cuts.

The FY 2009 budget blueprint aims to significantly cut funding for skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes over the next five years. The letter points out that the proposed cuts are "especially egregious" in light of the growing senior population and already drastically under-funded Medicaid system.

Leaders of the American Health Care Association and Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care issued statements thanking the senators for their efforts in defeating the budget proposal.