The House Committee on Energy and Commerce completed a mark-up Wednesday on legislation to place a temporary, one-year moratorium on seven Administration -imposed Medicaid regulations that would make significant cuts to the program over the next five years.
This in the face of a letter from Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt, Tuesday, to committee members , which said that senior White House advisors will urge President Bush to veto the legislation .”This veto threat is wrong -headed “ said David L. Shern ,Ph.D., President and CEO of Mental Health America. The approaches suggested in these regulations are regressive and will further fragment services ultimately frustrating our citizen’s ability to recover.
Committee Members then unanimously approved H.R. 5613, the “Protecting the Medicaid Safety Net Act of 2008,” by a vote of 46 to 0. Reps. John D. Dingell [D-MI] and Tim Murphy [R-PA], introduced H.R. 5613 on March 13, 2008.
In reporting this critical bill, Committee Members came together to protect the health of millions of Medicaid beneficiaries,” said Dingell, Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce “I’m sure that the thousands of people who have sent letters supporting this bill will be glad to hear that it was unanimously approved. Not only does this legislation preserve critical health care programs and services, it also imposes safeguards against fraud and abuse. Though it is no surprise that HSS has expressed opposition to H.R. 5613, I encourage Administration leaders to take a careful look at what this legislation will accomplish. There is good reason this bill has received broad, bipartisan, unanimous support.”
“I commend the full committee for supporting legislation that protects Medicaid beneficiaries from an onslaught of harmful regulations issued by the Bush administration,” said Rep. Frank Pallone [D-NJ], Chairman of the Subcommittee on Health.
In his opening statement, Ranking Member Joe Barton [R-TX] expressed his support for the legislation .saying, “This committee is once again showing that it can place policy ahead of politics…”
Committee on Energy and Commerce, News Release. April 16, 2008.
Mental Health America, News Release, April 17, 2008.