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Coalition urges Congress to increase the federal medical assistance percentage for Medicaid

February 11, 2021

By Jennifer Garvin

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Washington — The Partnership for Medicaid is urging Congress to increase the federal medical assistance percentage for Medicaid.

In a Feb. 5 letter, the coalition — which includes the ADA — asked leaders of the House and Senate to increase the federal medical assistance percentage for Medicaid by at least 5.8 percentage points in order to create a minimum 12 percentage point increase when combined with the federal medical assistance percentage increase provided in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

“A 12 percentage point [federal medical assistance percentage] increase is consistent with previous requests from the bipartisan National Governors’ Association, the National Association of Medicaid Directors and the National Association of State Budget Officers,” the coalition wrote. “Further, the House-passed HEROES Act from last Congress included a one-year 14 percentage point increase.”

The groups pointed out that enhancing the federal medical assistance percentage for Medicaid “is critical to ensure that the more than 77 million Medicaid beneficiaries nationwide continue to have access to care during the nation’s ongoing public health emergency and current economic downturn.”

The coalition also noted that Kaiser Family Foundation data indicate that Medicaid enrollment has grown by more than 6 million individuals since February 2020, “cementing Medicaid as an indispensable lifeline during the pandemic and substantiating the need to further bolster the program.”

“The scope and duration of the dual health and economic crises validates the need for an additional [federal medical assistance percentage] increase above what has been provided in law to date,” the letter concluded. “Additional support would enable states to leverage Medicaid’s role in COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccination, particularly as it relates to education and outreach for this population, as new variants and other challenges continue to threaten our national response to the pandemic. The Partnership for Medicaid looks forward to working with Congress to preserve and strengthen the Medicaid program through this uncertain time and support its vital role as a safety net for millions of Americans.”

The Partnership for Medicaid is a nonpartisan, nationwide coalition made up of organizations representing clinicians, health care providers, safety net plans and counties.

Follow all of the ADA’s advocacy efforts at ADA.org/advocacy.