Democratic senators unite against Medicaid cuts

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted June 20, 2011

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Forty-one Democratic senators sent letters to President Obama in early June urging him to oppose a Republican plan to change Medicaid from a program with defined benefits to one with defined spending as part of negotiations to increase the nation's debt limit. Thirty-seven Democratic senators signed a letter by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, W.Va.). At least four other senators sent their own letters: Dianne Feinstein of California, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Mark Udall and Michael Bennet of Colorado.

"We're counting on the White House to stand firm on our shared values here," Rockefeller said in a June 9 statement.

Rockefeller said Obama should take Medicaid cuts off the table during negotiations to increase the nation's statutory debt limit, just as Obama said he would not support cuts to Medicare or Social Security. The U.S. will reach its $14.3 trillion debt ceiling by early August. GOP leaders are demanding trillions in cuts to offset the debt limit increase needed for the nation to continue paying its creditors.

"Block grants and other arbitrary limits on federal Medicaid spending fail to automatically adjust for economic recessions, demographic changes, health care inflation, medical breakthroughs, epidemics or disasters, including terrorism," the Rockefeller letter states.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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