For four years, the Trump administration has worked to undermine the health and well being of millions of Americans via harmful attacks on Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). With less than 65 days left in office, the current administration has continued its unprecedented assault on health care by issuing an interim final rule that permits states to make Medicaid budget cuts without losing enhanced federal funding. In essence, this rule enables state legislatures and Medicaid agencies to reduce or eliminate optional benefits (such as oral health care, substance use treatment, etc.), increase cost-sharing and premiums, and reduce benefit packages.
At a time where states across the country are experiencing dangerous surges in COVID-19 cases, we need increased access to comprehensive coverage, not less. This is simply another attempt of the current federal Administration to kick the can down the road and skirt their responsibilities to serve the dire needs of the American public. Their apathetic attempt to “support” state budgets through slashing health care is not only misguided, but ineffectual. Less coverage drives higher costs in emergency room visits, and increases uncompensated care leaving hospitals and taxpayers holding the bill.
While Protect Our Care Illinois does not anticipate Illinois partaking in this abhorrent rule, we wholeheartedly and unequivocally denounce this guidance, which has the potential to jeopardize the health care of more than 70 million Americans. We also call upon our state elected leaders, including Governor Pritzker, to firmly and quickly denounce this latest attempt to undermine access to health care in the midst of a global pandemic, and demand the federal administration provide additional supports to states including increasing Medicaid federal match funds (FMAP) to 14 percent.
Although the interim final rule is effective immediately, public comments are being accepted through January 4, 2021. Protect Our Care Illinois encourages all Medicaid stakeholders to submit formal comments urging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to rescind this harmful guidance and ensure all Medicaid coverage remains stable for all enrollees.