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Medicaid Update

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.

Action Required

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

Click here to access additional information on Medicaid and proposals to enact cuts to this critical health safety net program.  Additional details are available by clicking here as well.

 

 

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