Senate approves budget bill cutting Medicare, Medicaid

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The Senate this morning narrowly passed budget legislation that would significantly cut spending for the Medicaid and Medicare programs.

Vice President Dick Cheney cast a tie-breaking vote on the deal. Earlier this week, the House approved the package that would cut Medicare by $6.4 billion and Medicaid by $4.8 billion over five years.

The House will now have to vote on the measure again before it is sent to President Bush for his signature. Before the final vote, Democratic senators made some minor changes to the bill.

Like the House bill, the Senate version imposes tougher restrictions on asset transfers, making it harder for seniors to pass on assets to qualify for Medicaid for a nursing home stay.