November 18, 2005
Early this morning, the House passed (217-215) the long expected budget “reconciliation” package that includes $11.4 billion in reductions to the Medicaid program over the next 5 years. This sends the budget “reconciliation” measure to a conference committee with the Senate that will try to resolve differences between the two bills. The differences between the separate bills over proposed changes to the Medicaid program are substantial. The Senate bill reduces future Medicaid spending by only $4.3 billion over 5 years and does NOT include proposals in the House bill allowing states to impose higher cost sharing on beneficiaries. In addition, the Senate bill reduces future payments to health plans serving Medicare beneficiaries by more than $5 billion.
Before the House passed the budget reconciliation measure (HR 4241), it made a number of changes designed to garner the final votes needed for passage. These include removing a provision that would have increased the “nominal” co-payments paid by Medicaid recipients from $3 to $5, and tied future increases to medical inflation after 2008.
A detailed analysis of the House and Senate Medicaid reconciliation packages can be found on the NAMI Web site.
By a vote of 209-224, the House yesterday failed to pass a final agreement on spending legislation covering FY 2006 funding for the health, labor and education programs. The bill includes the FY 2006 budgets for the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The rejection of the FY 2006 Labor-HHS Appropriations bill (HR 3010) means that changes will likely have to be made in the bill and be taken up after the Thanksgiving holiday. The bill contains the smallest increase for mental illness research in nearly a decade. If (as expected) the bill is later subject to a government-wide across the board cut, funding for NIMH research could actually end up below its $1.415 billion FY 2005 level.
For more information on FY2006 appropriations for mental health services, visit the NAMI Web site.
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