Congress has adjourned for a two-week recess, returning on July 20. The Senate is expected to take up a COVID-19 supplemental bill after returning, following passage last month in the House of the Heroes Act that we as a health system supported. In advance of action there, we stand with the Catholic Health Association of the United Sates (CHA) in urging everyone within the health system and our ministries to ask lawmakers to include several provisions in a final COVID-19 relief package that will provide essential resources for the Medicaid program and financial relief for providers with loans under the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment programs (AAP).
Specifically, we continue to urge Congress to:
Increase the Medicaid Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) to at least 14 percent, and establish an automatic trigger tied to economic conditions to provide additional support should the epidemic necessitate more targeted relief;
Require 12-month continuous eligibility and enrollment in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program, including post-partum care for women to ensure low-income and vulnerable children, individuals and families maintain their health care coverage throughout this crisis; and
Continue replenishment of the Public Health emergency fund and prioritize targeted relief for Medicaid providers to ensure ongoing critical funding for front-line providers and funding for safety net hospitals and providers.
Provide Loan forgiveness under the Accelerated and Advanced Payment (AAP) Programs. The continuing loss of elective procedure revenue, representing over 30 to 50 percent of hospital revenue, along with the ongoing costs of COVID-19 treatment have brought many providers to the brink of insolvency, especially safety net facilities. The AAP has been an essential lifeline for our hospitals and health care organizations experiencing unprecedented fiscal challenges; however, many are financially unable to repay these loans and remain solvent.
Please reach out to your senators today on the priority issues outlined above. A sample letter (email) for you to send is available here on e-Advocacy.