Senate Approves FY 2006 Spending-Cut Bill That Would Include Cuts to Medicaid
The Senate on Wednesday approved 51-50 the fiscal year 2006 spending package (S 1932) that would make $39.7 billion in cuts to programs such as Medicaid, the Washington Post reports. Vice President Dick Cheney cast the tie-breaking vote for the 774-page measure (Murray/Weisman, Washington Post, 12/22). Under the bill, states would be able to charge premiums and higher copayments for such Medicaid benefits as prescription drugs, physician services and hospital care. States would be allowed to end Medicaid coverage for beneficiaries who do not pay premiums for 60 days or more and deny services to beneficiaries who do not make copayments to pharmacists, doctors or hospitals. HIV/AIDS advocates have criticized the measure, saying an increase in copayments and premiums could cause some patients who cannot afford the costs to stop treatment (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 12/21). Although the bill already has been passed in the House, Senate Democrats used a parliamentary objection to strike three provisions from the bill, which sends the bill back to the House for a final vote (Washington Post, 12/22).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.