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Senate to Consider Amendments to Delete Proposed Medicaid Cuts from the Budget

This week the Senate is considering the FY 2005 budget resolution – the tax and spending blueprint for the coming fiscal year – that includes $11 billion in proposed cuts to the Medicaid program over the next five years. Under the budget resolution, these cuts take the form of binding instructions to the Senate Finance Committee to reduce federal matching funds to Medicaid program without specifying where to make the reductions. However, under Senate rules these assumptions in the budget carry enormous weight and result in a procedural requirement for cuts later in the year.

As early as March 11, the Senate will be voting on a series of amendments to restore proposed reductions (and mandatory instructions to Senate committees to cut funding) set forth in the budget resolution. In particular, NAMI is supporting amendments:

  • Eliminating the proposed $11 billion in cuts to Medicaid from the budget resolution.
  • Extending last year’s increase in the state Medicaid FMAP (Federal Medical Assistance Percentage). Note – this will avoid additional Medicaid cuts in many states after July 1, when the temporary FMAP increase enacted last year is set to expire.
  • Ensuring that State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) funds that are not being used in certain states can be reallocated to states that have shortfalls instead of reverting (unused) to the U.S. Treasury. Note – this will ensure that $1.2 billion allocated to certain states that have not been able to use all the money is sent in whole or in part to the many states that do not have enough SCHIP money.
  • Adding $2 billion for a range of public health program and activities including $771 million in additional funding in FY 2005 for biomedical research the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including additional funds for the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

Action Required

NAMI advocates are urged to contact their Senators and urge them to support:

  1. the Baucus Amendment to restore the proposed $11 billion in cuts to the Medicaid program, and
  2. the Specter Amendment to add funds in FY 2005 for NIH.