Emanuel, Durbin stop Medicaid cuts

Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) and Sen. Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) inserted a provision in the Iraq supplemental spending bill passed last week to stop the Bush administration from cutting Medicaid payments to hospitals for one year.

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Emanuel, chairman of the Democratic Caucus, and Durbin overturned a proposed rule that would have limited Medicaid payments to government healthcare providers. They were most concerned about Cook County Stroger Hospital, a facility made famous by the NBC-TV program, “ER.”

While Democrats conceded their goals of including a timeline and benchmarks in the supplemental spending bill, they forced the Bush administration to accept healthcare policy changes it did not want. The bill also extends a program for senior citizens in Wisconsin and blocked cuts to a program that pays for medical education.