Medicaid spending cuts would equal $14 billion over the next five years under a proposal by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Judd Gregg (R-N.H.). Gregg said he was committed to finding long-term savings in major government benefit programs, including Medicaid, to meet President Bush's goal of reducing the federal deficit to $229 billion by 2009. His proposal, which closely follows Bush's Medicaid plan, arose from Monday's budget talks among senators, HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt and White House Budget Director Joshua Bolten. The Congressional Budget Office last week projected that Bush's Medicaid plan would yield net savings of about $8.5 billion through 2010, compared with the White House's previous projection of $13 billion. In advance of further budget meetings Wednesday, Gregg issued a statement that it was his intention "to mark up a budget that cuts the deficit in half, holds the line on discretionary spending and includes mandatory savings." -- by Ralph Loos
Budget committee chief vows to include Medicaid cuts
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