Capitol Correspondence - 05.04.19

Democratic Health Leaders Request CMS Maintains Medicaid Protections

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U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and U.S. Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ) wrote a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) calling attention to actions the agency took which they believe weaken Medicaid protections, particularly in the area of managed care. Senator Wyden is the Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, and Representative Pallone is the Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which have oversight of the Medicaid program.

As written in their press release:

’We are concerned that steps taken by CMS over the past year and a half undermine the important safeguards [in Medicaid],” Wyden and Pallone wrote. “Robust enforcement and oversight of Medicaid’s access provisions and related protections is critically important. We therefore urge CMS to renew its commitment to ensuring access and take the necessary steps to ensure all beneficiaries have access to the care that they need and deserve.’ [Emphasis in the original.]

The letter, sent to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma, comes as the agency has taken numerous steps that would weaken beneficiary access protections and reduce state accountability. CMS has issued guidance and proposed rule changes that would exempt certain states from oversight requirements and eliminate standards meant to ensure Medicaid beneficiaries have access to a sufficient network of providers in addition to other important protections.”