Effort Underway to Push House Leaders to Strip Proposed Medicaid Cuts from the Budget Resolution
April 5, 2005
As you know, NAMI has been engaged in efforts to stop federal cuts to the Medicaid program as part of the FY 2006 budget resolution. In March, a major victory was achieved when Senators voted 52-48 to remove $15 billion in cuts to Medicaid over the next 5 years. Unfortunately, the companion House version of the FY 2006 budget resolution still contains $20 billion in assumed cuts over the same period.
House opponents of these proposed cuts to Medicaid -- led by Representative Heather Wilson (R-NM) -- are now circulating a sign-on letter to House Budget Chairman Jim Nussle urging that cuts to Medicaid be removed from the budget resolution. The letter also urges that Medicaid cuts be replaced with a bipartisan commission to study long-term changes to Medicaid (i.e. that the House accept the Senate position stripping Medicaid cuts from the budget resolution). NAMI strongly this effort and is currently working to secure support for this letter among House Republicans.
NAMI affiliate leaders are strongly encouraged to contact Republican House members from their states to urge them to sign Congresswoman Wilson's letter in opposition to Medicaid cuts. In order to make the letter as effective as possible, signatures are being limited to Republican members, so please do NOT contact Democrats. The deadline for the letter is April 8.
Remind members of the Congress that:
- Medicaid is the largest source of funding for the public mental health system in every state – especially optional services each state Medicaid program offers to mandatory beneficiaries (particularly individuals eligible for SSI). These optional services include prescription drugs, case management and assertive community treatment.
- The growth in Medicaid spending in recent years is driven by overall health care costs in the economy – NOT by the demands of program beneficiaries with severe disabilities and chronic illnesses who rely on Medicaid as a safety net. In fact, Medicaid growth is actually below that for insurance premiums in the private sector.
- The burden for deficit reduction should not fall hardest on the most vulnerable and disabled – including children and adults with severe mental illnesses.
- A bipartisan Medicaid commission will ensure that efforts to reform the program and restrain future spending are based on established principles and goals for reforms, NOT an arbitrary budget target.
All congressional offices can be reached by calling toll-free 1-800-828-0498. In addition, both the Washington and district office phone numbers of all House members can be accessed at www.house.gov
Of particular concern are House Republican members that are already on record in support of Representative Wilson's bill to establish a bipartisan Medicaid commission as an alternative to a requirement for Congress to reach an arbitrary level of cuts to the program as part of the budget resolution. Thank them for their opposition to Medicaid cuts and urge them to reinforce their position by signing this important letter. These Republican members include:
Arizona: Jim Kolbe & Rick Renzi
Arkansas: John Boozman
California: Dana Rohrabacher & Wally Herger
Colorado: Bob Beauprez & Joel Hefley
Connecticut: Nancy Johnson, Christopher Shays & Rob Simmons
Delaware: Mike Castle
Florida: Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Mario Diaz Balart, Jeff Miller, Adam Putnam, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen & E. Clay Shaw
Georgia: Jack Kingston
Idaho: Butch Otter
Illinois: Mark Kirk, Ray LaHood & Jerry Weller
Iowa: Jim Leach
Michigan: Candace Miller, Joe Schwarz
Minnesota: Gil Gutknecht & Jim Ramstad
Missouri: JoAnn Emerson
New Jersey: Frank LoBiondo, Jim Saxton & Chris Smith
New Mexico: Stevan Pearce
New York: Peter King, Randy Kuhl, John McHugh & James Walsh
North Carolina: Virginia Foxx, Robin Hayes, Walter Jones & Charles Taylor
Ohio: Rob Portman & Mike Turner
Pennsylvania: Charlie Dent, Phil English, Mike Fitzpatrick, Jim Gerlach, Melissa Hart, Tim Murphy, John Peterson, Joe Pitts, Todd Platts, Don Sherwood, Bill Shuster & Curt Weldon
Puerto Rico: Luis Fortuno
South Carolina: Joe Wilson
Texas: Kenny Marchant
Virginia: Tom Davis, Jo Anne Davis, Thelma Drake & Frank Wolf
West Virginia: Shelley Moore Capito
Wyoming: Barbara Cubin