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WASHINGTON, DC - Feb 06: Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt testifies during the Senate Finance hearing on the president's fiscal 2009 budget proposal. The panel's Democrats assailed the health proposals the budget request, directing their ire at the treatment of private Medicare plans and children's health funding. Leavitt drew battle lines with Democrats over the future of Medicare. He defended the administration's preference for using private insurers and injecting market forces into the big entitlement program, which he described as inefficient and lacking the tools needed for modernizing itself and containing health spending. Panel Democrats were highly critical of the Bush's budget, which would reduce Medicare's spending growth by $12.4 billion in fiscal 2009 and by $178.2 billion over five years, largely through cuts in payments to health care providers (Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly)

WASHINGTON, DC - Feb 06: Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt testifies during the Senate Finance hearing on the president's fiscal 2009 budget proposal. The panel's Democrats assailed the health proposals the budget request, directing their ire at the treatment of private Medicare plans and children's health funding. Leavitt drew battle lines with Democrats over the future of Medicare. He defended the administration's preference for using private insurers and injecting...
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