PICO news: Katrina and Medicaid

colist at comm-org.wisc.edu colist at comm-org.wisc.edu
Sun Dec 25 11:14:52 CST 2005

From: "PICO National Network" <gwhitman at piconetwork.org>

Here is a quick update on important action taken today in the
Senate on Gulf Coast rebuilding and children's health care .

Big win for the Gulf Coast: Tonight the Senate passed $29
billion in direct aid to help build stronger levees to protect
New Orleans, restore coastal wetlands and help Gulf Coast
families without flood insurance rebuild their homes. The aid
package is $12 billion dollars higher than what President Bush
had originally requested. While much more needs to be done by
federal, state and local government, the aid approved by the
Senate is the first significant funding to help rebuild
communities in Louisiana and Mississippi. The Katrina aid passed
unanimously as part of the defense spending bill (without Arctic
drilling). The spending bill now heads to the House of
Represenatives for a possible vote tomorrow. PICO clergy and
leaders, who travelled to Washington, D.C. four times this fall
to press the federal government to act on commitments to help
rebuild Louisiana, applauded the Senate for taking the high road
of justice and compassion and issued this statement tonight:

Medicaid cuts pass on Cheney tie-break: This morning Vice
President Cheney broke a 50-50 tie in the Senate to pass the
2006 budget. While the budget reflects a compromise on the total
amount of Medicaid cuts compared to what the House of
Representatives had originally proposed, it follows the House in
making major changes to Medicaid that will allow states to
reduce benefits and expose six million children to unaffordable
premiums, enrollment fees and co-payments. The final budget also
follows the House lead in largely protecting the drug and
insurance industries from Medicaid cuts. Because the budget that
the House sent the Senate had provisions that violated Senate
rules, the budget will not been sent on to the President, but
instead returns to the House for a new vote. PICO is joining
with other organizations concerned about children's health care
in urging the House to take this opportunity to revisit and
correct the most harmful provisions in the budget. Visit
http://ga3.org/ct/h7_svVd1UR4a/ for PICO's statement on the
budget vote.

Thank you to everyone who worked so hard on these important
issues this Fall.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Gordon Whitman, PICO National Network (734) 332-9792

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