Appropriations bill passes in House

Congress passed a spending bill that will lead to significant changes in the way Medicaid programs work. In a 216 to 214 vote, the House passed an appropriation bill that supporters say will save the federal government $35 billion over 5 years. Backers call the measures a bold attempt to rework a system that has "gone out of control." Among the changes: new rules for state Medicaid programs that will allow co-pays and premiums to be raised. Critics say the new rules will lead many to forgo treatment and ultimately inflate healthcare costs by forcing the system to cover more expensive problems later. The impact of the new rules is likely to be keenly felt by nursing homes and other providers of long-term care, which may have to absorb the full cost of providing care in some cases.

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