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Partnership for Medicaid shares priorities with new CMS administrator

July 28, 2021

By Jennifer Garvin

Washington — The Partnership for Medicaid is asking the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to “preserve and strengthen” the Medicaid program and to support “its vital role as a safety net for millions of Americans.”

In a July 21 letter to new CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, the partnership — which includes the ADA — urged her to prioritize a number of areas, including the following:

COVID-19 continuous coverage requirement: “As Medicaid stakeholders, the partnership acknowledges that states are facing budget constraints driven by the pandemic and increased Medicaid enrollment. Nevertheless, states should not be permitted to resolve budget deficits at the expense of vulnerable populations, like those enrolled in Medicaid, and especially during a public health emergency.”

Forthcoming end of the public health emergency and Medicaid eligibility cliff: The groups shared that Medicaid stakeholders and the constituents they represent are concerned that “an abrupt end” to the continuous coverage requirement could result in millions experiencing gaps in coverage and care. In December 2020, CMS issued guidance on planning for the resumption of normal state Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program and basic health program operations at the end of the public health emergency. The partnership urged CMS to “revise and reissue this guidance to ensure that no Medicaid enrollee experiences an unnecessary and dangerous gap in coverage” after the end of the public health emergency.

COVID-19 Provider Relief Fund: The partnership urged the Department of Health and Human Services and CMS to swiftly release remaining Provider Relief Fund monies or other relief funding appropriated by Congress to assist Medicaid providers and health professionals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

American Rescue Plan Act Medicaid expansion for certain mandatory individuals: “The American Rescue Plan Act included a provision that provides a 5-percentage-point increase to the regular federal medical assistance percentage rate for qualifying states that implement the Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion. These qualifying states include the remaining 12 states that have not taken up this option, leaving about 4 million uninsured people who would have qualified for expanded Medicaid coverage.” The partnership asked that HHS and CMS work to expedite any additional guidance for states so that they can take advantage of the generous American Rescue Plan Act subsidies.

State plan option to extend Medicaid coverage to one year postpartum: “Medicaid is a primary payer of maternity care in the U.S., covering 43% of births nationwide. Yet under current law, pregnancy-related Medicaid coverage ends roughly 60 days after delivery. Closing this critical gap in coverage can mean the difference between life and death for many mothers. This is also a matter of health equity, as nearly half of all non-Hispanic Black women had discontinuous insurance from pre-pregnancy to postpartum.” With the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act, beginning April 1, 2022, states can elect to provide 12 months of coverage after the end of pregnancy to postpartum Medicaid beneficiaries. “CMS should issue guidance to the states on the parameters of this new option well in advance of the April 1, 2022, effective date, with a focus on addressing inequities in maternal health outcomes.”

Visit ADA.org to read the letter in full.

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

For more information on the ADA’s advocacy efforts, visit ADA.org/Advocacy.