White House could accept Medicaid commission to end budget stalemate
Long-term care providers could get a partial win under a federal budget compromise being discussed this week. Bush administration negotiators have said they could accept the creation of a Medicaid commission as part of a compromise that would still leave significant Medicaid funding cuts in place.
The commission, which was written into the Senate's budget plan, would decide future aspects of Medicaid. Under the compromise, however, providers would experience a $10 billion cutback in Medicaid payments over the next five years, something the Senate budget had tried to avert.
The Bush administration initially rejected the idea of a study commission, which originated as a Senate amendment from Sen. Gordon H. Smith (R-OR), who bucked party lines to get it passed last month.
Aides to Smith said administration officials had agreed to accept Smith's demand for a commission in hopes of securing his and other Republicans' support for $10 billion worth of cutbacks.
The House and Senate are close to reconciling their competing versions of the budget for 2006, spokesmen for the budget committees said this week. Medicaid, which funds the majority of nursing home care, has been the major point of dispute in budget negotiations.