Capitol Correspondence - 05.12.20

Key Congressional Democrats Pressure HHS to Disburse Emergency Funds to Medicaid

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U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and U.S. Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ), who hold key roles overseeing Medicaid, wrote a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) urging it to include Medicaid supports in funding distributions from the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund created by the CARES Act to combat the coronavirus. Senator Wyden is ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, and Representative Pallone is chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Their action validates calls for funding from Medicaid disability supports, which are being devastated by the coronavirus. ANCOR has been advocating for funding to protect people with disabilities and the supports on which they rely for well over a month. Lend your voice to this effort using our action tool.

As written in the letter by Senator Wyden and Representative Pallone:

“HHS is ignoring clear Congressional intent by distributing the fund through methodologies that discriminate against Medicaid providers, impairing their ability to meet the needs of their communities and threatening their financial stability during and after the crisis. Medicaid providers are at the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether it is hospitals fighting to meet the needs of communities in crisis, nursing facilities and home-based providers working to keep patients safe, maternal health providers and pediatricians stepping up to ensure patients can receive essential prenatal care and vaccinations, or behavioral health providers striving to serve those in need of mental health and substance use disorder treatment, Medicaid providers play a critical role in confronting this pandemic. It is also vitally important that these providers alongside other essential providers such as school-based providers, primary care providers, health centers, dental providers, and others continue to exist when the country reaches the other side of this crisis. It is for these reasons that when creating the PHSSEF, Congress specified that ‘eligible health care providers’ included ‘Medicare or Medicaid enrolled suppliers and providers.’ Unfortunately, with roughly $70 billion of the original $100 billion already spoken for, HHS has yet to determine how Medicaid-dependent providers, operating at some of the thinnest margins, will receive necessary financial support.”