After long and often heated debate, the Senate approved a budget resolution yesterday that would set aside $400 billion over 10 years for Medicare reform, including a prescription drug benefit, and $50 billion over 10 years to help the uninsured. In addition, the resolution would authorize $350 billion in tax cuts over 10 years. It includes $3.3 billion in 2004 specifically to reform Medicaid. The proposal must be reconciled with the House budget passed last week. Unlike the Senate plan, which does not include explicit Medicaid cuts, the House proposal would slash Medicaid by $93 billion over 10 years. Lobbyists said they hope to eliminate Medicaid cuts in the House-Senate conference committee, which will negotiate a single budget to send to President Bush. -- by Jeff Tieman
Senate passes budget; conference panel up next
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