Two influential lawmakers in a letter to HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said they would ask their committees to seek savings in other federal programs rather than cut $10 billion from Medicaid over four years. The lawmakers -- Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), ranking minority member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), ranking minority member on the Senate Finance Committee -- also said in the letter that congressional leaders from both parties, not Leavitt, should appoint members to the new Medicaid Commission in order to ensure the commission is bipartisan and independent. In addition, the commission's final recommendations should be supported by all its members, not a simple majority, and should be policy-driven not budget-driven, the letter said. Leavitt, speaking at a Business Roundtable meeting in the morning, said he was close to announcing the commission's members. Congress' 2006 budget asks for $10 billion in spending cuts, most likely from Medicaid, and will create a one-year commission to explore Medicaid reforms. Read letter. -- by Tony Fong and Ralph Loos
Democrats vow to find cuts outside of Medicaid
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