Smith to pursue Medicaid amendment despite pressure from administration

Share this content:

Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR) still plans to introduce an amendment that would eliminate $14 billion in Medicaid cuts from the Senate's fiscal year 2006 budget resolution, despite increasing opposition from the Bush administration.

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt and some Senate colleagues reportedly are concerned about the amendment. The introduction of the amendment and Senate voting on the resolution are likely to take place this week.

Adopting the amendment should not prevent the House and Senate from reaching agreement when the two budget bills go to conference committee, said Smith, who chairs the Senate Special Committee on Aging. If the amendment is unsuccessful, he said he would continue to push his Medicaid concerns as a member of the Senate Finance Committee.

His amendment not only would prevent $14 billion in Medicaid cuts, but it would support legislation to establish the Bipartisan Commission on Medicaid Act to examine the program before cutting back the program. Medicaid pays for the majority of nursing home costs.