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Shaheen, Casey Introduce Bill to Support State Medicaid Programs During Times of Economic Crisis

(Washington, DC) – As states face an economic downturn and Americans lose health care coverage due to job loss during the public health pandemic, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Bob Casey (D-PA) and their colleagues introduced the Coronavirus Medicaid Response Act. This legislation would respond to the increased need for health care during the public health and economic crisis by creating a quicker and more responsive process for supporting state Medicaid programs. It would address fluctuating demand in states for Medicaid by automatically connecting the Medicaid Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) to state unemployment levels, so that additional federal aid would ebb and flow with a state’s economy. 

“Since its inception, the Medicaid program has served as a lifeline to health care access for Americans who have fallen on hard times, including the millions who have now lost their jobs as a result of the economic fallout from this pandemic,” said Shaheen. “However, the increased demand for Medicaid coverage during this and other crises results in state budgets coming under heavy strain. This legislation would boost federal Medicaid funding during periods of economic downturn, protecting state budgets and the health care coverage of many Americans.”

In order to ensure accuracy, a state’s FMAP increase would be calculated based on Local Area Unemployment Statistics collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and modified based on prospective and retrospective analysis.

The Coronavirus Medicaid Response Act is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Tina Smith (D-MN), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Jon Tester (D-MT), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Gary Peters (D-MI) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ).

Read more about the Coronavirus Medicaid Response Act here.