Asking the Senate Budget Committee to oppose an estimated $92 billion in cuts to Medicaid over 10 years, 79 senators signed a letter sent Thursday to the committee chairman, Sen. Don Nickles (R-Okla.), and ranking member, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.).
The House passed a budget resolution that includes about $92 billion in cuts, while the Senate-passed resolution and President Bush's requested budget do not cut Medicaid funding.
The Senators who signed the letter are urging the committee not to include the cuts during its negotiations in the House-Senate conference committee. A final budget is due to Bush by April 15.
Both versions currently include Bush's request for $400 billion over 10 years for Medicare reform. The Senate resolution that passed last week also includes $3.3 billion to reform Medicaid.
"States are currently facing the most severe budget crisis since World War II and nearly every state has proposed or enacted cuts to its Medicaid program," the letter says. "Any reduction in federal Medicaid funding would place millions of vulnerable Americans now receiving Medicaid in jeopardy of losing their health coverage."
Both the Senate Finance Committee chairman, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), and ranking member, Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), signed the letter.
"I?m going to keep up a steady drumbeat to ensure that Medicaid funding levels are restored in the final budget resolution," Baucus said in a statement. "It's up to us in Congress to provide the states with the assistance they need and help take some of the burden off of their shoulders so they can properly fund this important program."