House delays deadline for finding budget cuts

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House leaders pushed back the fiscal year 2006 budget reconciliation deadline until Oct. 28. Their goal is to allow committees more time to find $50 billion in savings from programs, including Medicaid.

The Senate has not altered its budget resolution deadline. The Senate Budget Committee plans to mark up the resolution on Oct. 26.

Meanwhile, William Novelli, CEO of seniors group AARP urged Sen. Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley to hold off on drastic Medicaid cuts. Changing asset transfer rules could deprive some elderly of needed care. Also, an increase in copayments should include protection for beneficiaries who cannot pay, he wrote in an Oct. 7 letter.

Novelli's AARP is in favor of a better prescription drug spending system and encouraging people to save money for long-term care.