House committee passes Medicaid moratorium bill
Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) introduced the bill along with Rep. John Dingell (D-MI)
The House Energy and Commerce Committee Wednesday unanimously passed legislation that would put a hold on the implementation of seven Medicaid regulations, despite threats of a presidential veto.
Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt warned legislators that President Bush's advisors would recommend that the president veto the moratorium. Representatives John Dingell (D-MI) and Joe Barton (R-TX) have expressed their confidence that the bill, which passed their committee 46-0, has enough support in both houses to override a veto.
The proposed Medicaid rules are projected to trim at least $15 billion from the program over five years. (Recent reports have shown the actual costs to states - incurred through loss of jobs, wages and business activity - would be significantly higher.) Delaying the rules' implementation until April 1, 2009, would cost $1.6 billion. Legislators have said they would pay for the moratorium, in part, with funds from a reserve originally allocated for physician reimbursement rate overhauls.