Medicaid reductions squeak by in Senate, House votes

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Congress last week narrowly approved a federal budget that set a target of cutting federal Medicaid spending by $10 billion over four years, beginning in 2007, and establishes a new one-year Medicaid commission.

The House voted 214-211 for the resolution, and the Senate voted 52-47. While nonbinding, the resolution sets critical guidelines for lawmakers as they make tax and spending decisions for fiscal year 2006. 

The budget is "a proposal that puts us on the path toward stabilizing and strengthening Medicaid," said Mike Leavitt, Health and Human Services Secretary. Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) countered that the budget was an example of Republicans' "misplaced priorities." 

Medicaid savings amount to roughly 1% of projected federal Medicaid spending of $1.1 trillion over the next five years, said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Judd Gregg. President Bush is expected to approve a budget with $10 billion in Medicaid cuts and a Medicaid commission.