Washington By a vote of 215 to 212, the U.S. House of Representatives March 20 passed a 2004 budget resolution that contains approximately $93 billion
by Brook Raflo
April 1, 2003

Washington By a vote of 215 to 212, the U.S. House of
Representatives March 20 passed a 2004 budget resolution that
contains approximately $93 billion in Medicaid cuts.

Although the final resolution was less severe than its
predecessor — which recommended $215 billion in cuts to both
Medicaid and Medi-care — it still could hurt the home care
industry, according to Seth Johnson, director of public policy at
the American Association for Homecare.

“These cuts would make it very difficult for our
legislative proposals that cost any amount of money,” Johnson
explained. Additionally, “programs like competitive bidding
could be an alternative they would look at more closely.”

AAHomecare's hopes of defeating such cuts now rest in the
Senate, where lawmakers passed a 2004 budget resolution that
closely follows President Bush's recommendations, but does not cut
Medicaid spending.

Representatives from both the House and Senate now are meeting
“in conference,” to decide on a compromise resolution,
Johnson explained. Some conservative House republicans have
threatened to reject any resolution that does not attempt to
achieve a balanced budget within 10 years, he said.

If that happens, AAHomecare may ask its members again to urge
their representatives not to enact deep health care cuts, Johnson
said.

“I certainly think [members' lobbying efforts] had an
impact on getting those Medicare cuts taken out of the House
budget,” he said. “We probably will wait until
conference, but then we will put pressure on the conference to
adopt the better of the two resolutions.”

$2.3 MILLION now is available through the Atlanta-based
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to promote the health
of people with disabilities.

For breaking news, go to www.homecaremonday.com, the electronic news service
of the home medical equipment industry.