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Administration Weighs in on Health Provisions of House Budget Bill

NOVEMBER 21, 2005 -- While the Bush administration is pleased that the House budget reconciliation bill achieves "substantial" Medicaid savings, a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) on the measure takes issue with other health care provisions of the legislation (HR 4241), which the House passed Nov. 18.

For example, the administration has offered its own plans for changing the basis for Medicaid prescription drug reimbursement or expanding the state long-term care partnership program. The administration is also concerned with provisions in the bill that "manipulate the Federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP)." The provisions, according to the administration, "may unnecessarily increase spending."

To help Hurricane Katrina victims, the administration said it prefers its approach to negotiate waivers with individual states instead of the funding provisions in the House budget bill. "The Administration believes that we can meet the needs of States without setting the precedent of guaranteeing 100 percent FMAP," officials said.

Even with those criticisms, the House budget bill won a warmer reception than its Senate counterpart (S 1932). In a SAP on the Senate budget reconciliation package dated Nov. 1, the White House said that if a final bill cuts a $5.4 billion fund to entice preferred provider organizations to offer coverage to Medicare recipients in underserved regions, "the President's senior advisors will recommend that he veto the bill."

The fund was created as part of the new Medicare drug law (PL 108-173).

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