Efforts To Remove Medicaid Provisions From War Spending Bill
Efforts by SenateRepublicans to remove two Medicaid provisions from a $193 billion supplementalwar appropriations bill "have been rebuffed by Democrats," CQToday reports (Armstrong, CQ Today, 5/9). Senate Finance Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on Thursday in a letter asked Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) andranking member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) to remove a provision that would blockfor one year seven new Medicaid regulations proposed by the Bushadministration, as well as a provision that would ban construction of newphysician-owned specialty hospitals.
In the letter to Byrd and Cochran, Grassley wrote that the provisions"should only be considered by the Finance Committee," which has"done significant work on this issue over the years including holdinghearings and conducting investigations." However, Senate Finance CommitteeChair Max Baucus (D-Mont.) supports the inclusion of the provisions in thelegislation, according to a Senate aide (KaiserDaily Health Policy Report, 5/9).
According to CQ Today, Baucus says Republicans already haveblocked efforts to address the Medicaid rules in a stand-alone bill (HR 5613).Baucus spokesperson Carol Guthrie said, "Senator Baucus has said that inlight of the fact that efforts to move legislation stopping these bad Medicaid(regulations) from being implemented have been blocked, the supplementalfunding bill is a viable vehicle for moving them forward."
Jesse Jacobs, a spokesperson for Byrd, said Democratic leaders support thelanguage included in the supplemental spending measure, adding, "TheMedicare/Medicaid provision is expected to be in the House supplemental and wasincluded in the Senate mark at the request of the Democratic leadership in theSenate with the support of the chair of the Senate Finance Committee."
Margaret McPhillips, a spokesperson for Cochran, said, "Senator Cochranwas certainly not consulted about this issue. We hope the chairman willcarefully consider Sen. Grassley's concerns," adding, "There areseveral pieces of the House and Senate drafts that don't belong on asupplemental appropriations bill, particularly if there is to be no opportunityfor amendments on the House or Senate floor, and no conference committee"(CQ Today, 5/9).
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