Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), joined U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and 33 of their Senate colleagues in urging House and Senate leaders to include strong provisions to expand access to quality and affordable health care coverage in any upcoming COVID-19 relief bill. In their letter, the Senators called for a bipartisan effort to increase the federal government’s share of Medicaid dollars as well as reduce premiums for individuals who are eligible for coverage in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges.
This letter follows the May 15th House passage of the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, which creates critical pathways to health care coverage by ensuring newly unemployed Americans can remain in their previously elected employer-sponsored plans, and strengthens states’ ability to provide Medicaid coverage and other key provisions.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had an extraordinary impact on every facet of our society and resulted in tremendous job loss, financial uncertainty and reduced access to health care coverage at a time when Americans can least afford it,” wrote the Senators. “We strongly believe that an unprecedented global health crisis of this nature deserves equally unprecedented action from Congress to ensure that Americans have continued access to the health care services they need.”
According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study, nearly 27 million people could lose their employer-sponsored health insurance as a result of losing their job – adding to the existing 27 million Americans who were already uninsured prior to the COVID-19 crisis.
The Senators continued, “We strongly encourage Republicans and Democrats to work together to build upon efforts in the HEROES Act by further enhancing the Medicaid federal medical assistance percentages (FMAP) to ensure continued and comprehensive coverage for enrollees, sustain Medicaid programs in states that have expanded their program, incentivize additional states to expand their Medicaid programs and provide payment to states that have already expanded their Medicaid programs, but have not received their full share of enhanced payments in the past.”
The full text of the letter can be found HERE.