Supplemental War Appropriations Bill With Medicaid Provision Approved

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The House on Thursdaypassed a $257.5 billion supplemental war appropriations bill (HR 2642) with aprovision that would delay for one year six new Medicaid regulations proposedby the Bush administration, the WashingtonPost reports(Kane, Washington Post, 6/20). The House approved the legislationin two votes, one for war spending and one for domestic programs and spending.The House voted 268-155 to pass the war spending and 416-12 to approve the domesticprograms and spending (Hulse, New York Times, 6/20).

According to CQ Today, the House finalized the bill after "weeks of negotiations within the Democratic caucus, with the White House and between the chambers" in which Democrats agreed to a spending cap in exchange for the Medicaid provision and other measures. As part of the negotiations, Democrats agreed to revise the Medicaid provision to apply to six, rather than all seven, of the regulations. The Medicaid provision would not apply to a regulation that would limit federal funds for hospital outpatient services, House Appropriations Committee Chair David Obey (D-Wis.) said. That regulation would save the federal government $300 million over five years -- the least of any of the seven -- according to the Congressional Budget Office (Higa/Rogin, CQ Today, 6/19).

"Democrats, many Republicans and governors across the country emerged the victors in a battle with the White House to block new Bush administration rules designed to cut spending on Medicaid," the AP/Houston Chronicle reports (Taylor, AP/Houston Chronicle, 6/19).

Additional Funds

In addition to the Medicaidprovision, the bill would provide $1 billion in funds for domestic programsthat President Bush did not request (CQ Today, 6/20). The fundsinclude $150 million for FDA (Higa/Rogin, CQ Today, 6/19). Thebill also would provide $4.6 billion for military construction, health care forveterans and military hospitals -- $2.2 billion more than Bush requested (CQToday, 6/20). The $4.6 billion includes $416 million for theconstruction of a new Walter Reed ArmyMedical Center atthe National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.(Hay Brown, Baltimore Sun, 6/20).

Prospects

The Senate likely willconsider the House version of the bill early next week (Sanchez, CongressDaily,6/20). According to CQ Today, "after weeks of negotiations andwith the military running short of money, Senate Democrats reluctantly endorsedthe deal that House Democrats finally struck with the White House and GOPleadership," and Democratic leaders "expressed cautious optimism thatit would clear that chamber" (Rogin, CQ Today, 6/19).

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White House Office of Management and Budget Director Jim Nussle on Thursdaysaid that Bush "can support" the House version of the bill (Baltimore Sun,6/20). In a statement, the White House Office of the Press Secretary onWednesday announced support for the legislation and said, "We urge boththe House and Senate to immediately pass this bipartisan agreement"(Rogin, CQ Today, 6/19).

Labor-HHS-EducationAppropriations Bill

The House Appropriations Labor, HHS, Education and Related AgenciesSubcommittee onThursday by voice vote approved a $626 billion fiscal year 2009 Labor-HHS-Educationappropriations bill that includes $153.1 billion in discretionary spending,$7.8 billion more than Bush requested and an increase of about $8 billion fromFY 2008, CQ Today reports. According to CQ Today, thelegislation "would provide modest spending increases to several health andeducation programs," and NIH "would see noteworthy increases."

The bill would provide $30.1 billion for NIH, an increase of about $1.2 billionfrom FY 2008. In addition, the legislation would provide $69 billion indiscretionary spending for HHS, according to a spokesperson for Obey. The billwould provide $370 million for programs to fight pandemic flu, $137 millionless than Bush requested but an increase from $75 million for FY 2008,according to House Appropriations Committee ranking member Jerry Lewis(R-Calif.) (Wayne, CQ Today, 6/19).

The legislation would increase funds for community health centers by $100million from FY 2008 to expand access to an additional 330,000 individuals. Thebill also would provide $75 million to establish a state high-risk healthinsurance pool to make coverage more affordable for 200,000 individuals andincrease funds for rural health care programs by $31 million from FY 2008(Edney, CongressDaily, 6/19).

The full committee plans to consider the bill next week, according to aspokesperson for Obey. Bush has promised to veto any appropriations bills thatexceed his requests (Wayne, CQ Today, 6/19).

AgricultureAppropriations Bill

The House Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee on Thursday by voice vote approveda $97.4 billion FY 2009 Agriculture appropriations bill, effectively"rejecting President Bush's proposed cuts to rural and nutritionprograms," CQ Today reports. The bill would provide $97.4billion for USDA, FDA and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The measure includes $20.6 billion indiscretionary spending, about $1.9 billion more than Bush requested. The fullcommittee plans to consider the bill next week, according to Lewis (Sternstein,CQ Today, 6/19).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up foremail delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health PolicyReport is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J.Kaiser Family Foundation.

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