President wants to cut more than expected ($100 billion) from Medicare, Medicaid

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President Bush has proposed slashing $101.5 billion from the Medicare and Medicaid programs over five years, according to a budget blueprint released Monday. Nursing home providers have vowed to fight the cutbacks.

The budget includes more than $78.6 billion in Medicare and Medicaid savings as well as an addition $22.9 billion in savings from the programs related to revisions to federal regulations. Reports last week predicted the president would ask for "more than $70 billion in Medicare and Medicaid cuts.

Among the changes, the proposal would require a larger number of higher-income Medicare beneficiaries to pay increased premiums. It also would make permanent reductions in Medicare reimbursements to healthcare providers.

Cutting Medicare at a time when the baby boom demographic is preparing to enter long-term care "makes no sense," said Bruce Yarwood, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association. He added that it "would have an enormously negative collateral effect on the operations of skilled nursing facilities across the nation."

See the budget proposal online at .