House committee passes budget deal with changes to asset transfer rules

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The House Energy and Commerce Committee late last week approved its fiscal year 2006 budget reconciliation package that includes nearly $9.5 billion in Medicaid cuts over five years. The package also includes provisions tightening asset transfer regulations for seniors seeking Medicaid coverage in nursing homes.

The House committee approved the budget package by 28 to 22. Changes to Medicaid's prescription drug payment system and a plan to give states greater flexibility in structuring their Medicaid programs are also a part of the deal.
A provision in the bill tightens regulations for seniors who transfer assets in order to qualify for Medicaid. This provision would save $2.3 billion, the committee believes. The committee also kept a provision to make seniors with more than $500,000 in home equity ineligible for Medicaid-funded long-term care.
The Medicaid reconciliation package approved Oct. 25 by the Senate Finance Committee reduced Medicaid spending by $4.3 billion, with the bulk of the savings coming from prescription drug payment reforms.
(Published 10-31-05)