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Pushback Builds in CO to "Backdoor Bureacratic Cuts" of Medicaid

March 5, 2008

Denver, CO - They're calling it a "back door bureaucratic move" to cut critical health coverage. Public health advocates say the Bush administration has been bypassing Congress, making cuts, and restricting access to Medicaid and other health programs by issuing new federal rules. And if they all go into effect, school health programs could be hit hard, according to Kim Erickson with the Denver Public Schools.

"We use these dollars for eyeglasses, eye exams, mental health services, nursing services and more."

Congress passed a moratorium last year to delay some of the new rules, but it expires in May. Erickson says she'd like to see Congress act to extend the moratorium until a new administration is in office. The White House argues the cuts reduce the programs to a level the nation can afford.

Elisabeth Arenales with the Colorado Center on Law and Policy believes the new rules are a step backwards for an already ailing health care system.

"As we're looking towards health care reform, the loss of federal dollars that would help support that effort is potentially devastating."

A recent Congressional report found that Colorado stands to lose over $700 million in funding over the next five years if the rules are implemented.

The congressional report is available online at
http://oversight.house.gov.

Eric Mack, Public News Service - CO