Senate Budget Resolution Proposes $11 Billion in Cuts to Medicaid
This week the Senate Budget Committee is considering its 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. 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.
In recent year, Medicaid has become the most important source of funding for mental illness treatment services and supports. Many states are already moving to limit eligibility and services under their Medicaid programs. A reduction in an additional $11 billion in federal Medicaid matching funds would accelerate these cuts in 2005. Next week the House Budget Committee begins work on its budget resolution and it is expected to also include a requirement for further Medicaid cuts. NAMI is joined in opposing these cuts by the bipartisan National Governors Association.
NAMI advocates are urged to contact both their Senators and their House member and urge them to oppose these proposed Medicaid cuts in the 2005 budget resolution. Remind your members of Congress that:
- Medicaid is the critical safety net program for children and adults with severe mental illness, offering coverage of medications and community-based services and supports,
- Many states are already moving to reduce Medicaid coverage and benefits by limiting access to the full range of mental illness treatments and limiting eligibility for services, and
- Further cuts in the federal share of Medicaid would be devastating to states and their public mental health systems that depend on Medicaid to meet the treatment and support needs of the vulnerable.
All members of the Congress can be reached by calling the Capitol Switchboard toll free at 1-800-839-5276 or at 202-224-3121 or online through www.congress.org.