Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader McConnell, Leader McCarthy, and Leader Schumer,
As the Senate and the House of Representatives work to finalize the COVID-4 package, we urge you to include a temporary increase of the Medicaid Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) of 14 percentage points over the 12 months of the state fiscal year that began July 1, 2020. This emergency increase in FMAP is urgently needed to put our nation on a path to recovery and is strongly supported by our nation's governors, counties, cities, and towns on a bipartisan basis.
As you know, Medicaid was created in 1965 as a partnership between the federal government and the states to ensure that vulnerable populations have access to health care and other essential services. Medicaid was also designed to respond to economic crises, serving as a critical safety net for people who lose coverage due to job loss. The ongoing public health emergency created by COVID-19 is precisely the type of national crisis that the Medicaid program is suited to address.
In acknowledgement of the vital role that Medicaid plays in supporting low and middle-income families across the country, Congress temporarily increased the Medicaid FMAP by 6.2 percentage points in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201). This legislation included essential maintenance of effort and coverage protections to prevent states from cutting eligibility and current participation in their current Medicaid programs, which also must be continued.
The 6.2 percentage point increase included in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act was just a beginning. As unemployment remains at record levels, the public health emergency continues, and states face dangerous budget shortfalls, more needs to be done to ensure that states and providers have the resources they need to meet the growing demand on their health care systems and that individuals can access the comprehensive coverage and care they need during this crisis.
As you know, in May, the House passed the HEROES Act (H.R. 6800) which would increase FMAP by a total of 14 percentage points through June 30, 2021. The National Governors Association, National Association of Counties, National League of Cities, National Conference of State Legislatures, Council of State Governments, U.S. Conference of Mayors, provider and patient groups, and other advocates across the country have sent letters outlining the need for additional federal Medicaid funding during this crisis. We urge you to heed this request and include an emergency 14 percentage point increase of the Medicaid FMAP in the next COVID response package.
Thank you for your attention to this important issue.