The Senate voted today to block the Bush Administration from implementing new Medicaid rules that would save the federal government billions—but at the expense of the states, whose governors lobbied hard against the new rules. The rules sought to eliminate what the administration sees as waste and fraud in Medicaid, a principal concern of conservatives. But enough GOP senators ultimately sided with their home states to give it an overwhelming 75-22 vote, enough to override a veto, despite a whip effort by Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.).
Last night, Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt announced that his agency would voluntarily not implement two of the rules at issue until Aug. 1. It wasn’t enough to stave off the wave.
And a little credit where it’s due: Sen. John Sununu (R-N.H.) correctly predicted the measure would have 75 votes more than a week ago. Nice counting.