Senate speeds to vote on Medicaid moratorium bill

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)
Senators could vote as early as this week on a bill to delay seven Medicaid regulations. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) late last week granted fast-track status to the legislation (H.R. 5613).

As a result of Reid's move, the legislation bypassed the Senate Finance Committee and heads straight to the Senate. The House last week passed the bill by a strong majority – enough to override a potential presidential veto. The Bush administration would be willing work with lawmakers on some of the rules, according to Kerry Weems, acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Congressmen and governors have sharply criticized the rules because of their expected negative impact on Medicaid funding to states. The rules would place limits on Medicaid funding to government-owned nursing homes and hospitals, among other restrictions. The bill would delay the regulations, many of which are scheduled to take effect in coming weeks, until April 1, 2009.