Republican House and Senate negotiators reached a tentative agreement on a 10-year, $350 billion tax cut bill that would provide $10 billion to assist state Medicaid programs. Other amendments to the bill would have boosted Medicare payments to rural providers, but they did not survive. Several lawmakers indicated those provisions would be revived when Medicare reform is debated this summer. A bipartisan panel of lawmakers is working to hammer out final details with the goal of presenting a bill to President Bush before Congress adjourns for Memorial Day. In a May 22 letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), President Bush expressed support for Medicare payment changes. "I will support the increased Medicare funding for rural providers contained in your amendment as a part of a bill that implements our shared goal for Medicare reform," Bush said in the letter. -- by Jeff Tieman
No Medicare provisions in tentative tax bill pact
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