WASHINGTON - December 19 - The Conference Committee agreement on the budget reconciliation bill that the House adopted and the Senate will consider includes approximately $23 billion in 10-year Medicaid cuts that will directly harm low-income program beneficiaries. The following is the statement of Ron Pollack, Executive Director of Families USA, about the Medicaid cuts:
"The budget bill's Medicaid cuts will cause enormous hardships for America's low-income children, seniors, and people with disabilities. The cuts will increase out-of-pocket costs and decrease benefits for millions of people who count on Medicaid as their health care safety net, resulting in a tragic loss of needed medical care.
"It is clear that the House steamrolled the Senate with these Medicaid budget cuts. The initial Senate bill protected low-income children, seniors, and people with disabilities from harm, while the House bill included Medicaid cutbacks nearly identical to those in the Conference Committee agreement.
"The fate of these Medicaid cuts is now largely in the hands of seven Republican and two Democratic Senators - Senators Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), Norm Coleman (R-MN), Susan Collins (R-ME), Mike DeWine (R-OH), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Gordon Smith (R-OR), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and Arlen Specter (PA). The seven Republican Senators last week sent a letter to the Senate leadership rejecting the House Medicaid cuts, and the two Democrats were the only members of their party who earlier voted for the more moderate Senate budget bill.
"We implore the nine Senators, as well as others, to reject the budget reconciliation bill that contains the harmful Medicaid cuts."