July 10, 2020
IHA joined more than 100 organizations in signing a letter spearheaded by the National Governors Association (NGA) urging Congress to include an additional increase in the federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) for the Medicaid program in the next COVID-19 response legislation.
Specifically, the letter, which was sent yesterday to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), asks for an additional 5.8 percentage points to be added to the 6.2 percentage points provided in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (bringing the total to an additional 12 percentage points), retroactive to Jan. 1, 2020 and extending until Sept. 30, 2021.
“Boosting the Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAP), which is the linchpin of the federal-state partnership that provides health care for more than 70 million Americans, will help ensure that people in every state and territory have access to critical, often life-saving, health care,” said the NGA in its press release announcing the letter.
“[I]n fiscal year 2019 Medicaid was the largest expenditure for states, accounting for nearly 29 percent of total spending from all funds. The COVID-19 pandemic is drastically shrinking state and local revenue with most states experiencing a budget shortfall ranging between 5 and 20 percent. Even states with a lower shortfall will be challenged to provide adequate healthcare services to their residents. This leaves state and local leaders with tough choices to balance their budgets while responding to a pandemic,” wrote IHA, NGA and others in the letter.
The letter also called on the federal government to rescind the proposed Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Rule (MFAR), which would significantly limit how states finance their Medicaid program. IHA expressed opposition to MFAR as well as support for an additional increase in FMAP in a letter to the Illinois Congressional delegation, outlining hospital and health system priorities for the next COVID-19 legislation. A list of IHA priorities is also available here.