The House-Senate fiscal 2005 budget plan leaves federal Medicaid funding untouched, after lawmakers ditched a provision that would have cut up to $2.2 billion over five years from the joint federal-state program. The House is expected to vote on the reconciled 2005 budget plan late today. The Senate will take up the $2.4 trillion plan tomorrow. The reconciled 2005 budget plan allocates $288 billion for Medicare and $252 billion for Medicaid, the State Children's Health Insurance Program and other health programs. Meanwhile, the Senate unanimously approved Project BioShield, a $5.6 billion, 10-year package that offers incentives to drugmakers to develop antidotes and vaccines against potential biological weapons and speeds Food and Drug Administration review of such products. The House passed similar legislation last July. The House must either vote on the Senate-passed bill or a conference committee must reconcile differences between the two versions. -- by Tony Fong
Budget spares Medicaid; Project BioShield OK'd
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