'There's bipartisan pressure to keep this life-saving funding intact,' said HRC's Joe Solmonese.
WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign praised the U.S. House of Representatives for its strong 348-72 bipartisan vote supporting a non-binding motion to instruct members of the budget conference committee to restore the $20 billion in Medicaid cuts passed in the budget resolution. A letter sent earlier this month by Rep. Heather Wilson, R-N.M., and co-signed by 40 other Republican House members, also urged the conference committee to take the same actions.
"There's bipartisan pressure to keep this life-saving funding intact," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "The importance of Medicaid, especially for Americans living with AIDS, should know no party lines. Americans rely on the treatment Medicaid programs provide and it's up to our elected officials to ensure that coverage remains. We thank Representatives Spratt and Wilson for their actions to save this critical health care and urge the conference committee to heed the clear instructions from both the House and the Senate and reject cuts to Medicaid."
Although non-binding, the motion to instruct, offered by Rep. Stephanie Herseth, D-S.D., is a strong guidance to the Senate and House conference committee. According to reports from Capitol Hill, a bargain was struck between members of Congress that will result in $8 to $10 billion in cuts when the budget resolution passes.
"We urge the conference committee to remember the men, women and children counting on this life-saving funding when they vote on the final budget later this week," said Solmonese. "It's extremely unfortunate that some members of Congress are looking to cut costs in a way that would hurt their constituents."
Medicaid currently provides health care coverage to 55 percent of adults and 90 percent of children living with AIDS. If the cuts are made, more patients who rely on Medicaid for life-saving prescriptions would be forced to look to the Ryan White CARE Act's AIDS Drug Assistance Program, which already has lengthy waiting lists.
HRC collaborated with allies on Capitol Hill, other HIV/AIDS organizations and health care organizations to support today's motion to instruct and similar actions in the Senate. In March, the Senate passed an amendment to the budget that would also ensure no cuts were made to Medicaid - a bipartisan effort led by Sens. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., and Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M.
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