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House votes overwhelmingly to block Medicaid cuts


WASHINGTON The full House of Representatives voted yesterday to block cuts aimed at Medicaid, which were proposed by the Bush administration, according to published reports. The spending cuts would have totaled $13 billion over the next five years.

The measure easily passed the mandatory two-thirds vote needed by a vote of 349-62. The vote will hopefully impose a one-year moratorium, through next March, on seven rules changes that the administration argues are needed to clean-up the waste and abuse in the program. The next step is for the vote to move to the Senate Finance Committee in hopes of moving to the Senate floor. President Bush, however, has threatened a veto, so it would be important for the Senate to be overwhelmingly in favor of the vote, as the House was.

The proposed rules would affect programs involving payment to public safety-net institutions, rehabilitation services for people with disabilities, coverage of hospital clinical services, graduate medical education payments and specialized medical transportation to school for children covered by Medicaid.

In 2007, some 48 million people participated in Medicaid programs. The total cost was about $352 billion, with the federal government paying almost $200 billion and states providing the rest.

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