Last week, CWLA’s members urged Congress to pass another emergency supplemental bill that expands the current level of federal support for state and territorial Medicaid and child welfare programs.
In the Families First COVID-19 emergency supplemental bill, Congress acted swiftly to provide a much-needed 6.2 percentage increase in the FMAP. As the pandemic increases the duration and depth of health and economic challenges, we urge Congress to expand the FMAP to 14 percent as provided in the House-passed H.R. 6800. This FMAP increase must extend to Title IV-E child welfare programs including foster care, subsidized guardianships, and adoption assistance.

The bipartisan National Governors Association (NGA) and the National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD) have gone on record calling for Congress to expand the FMAP and to tie both the amount and duration to unemployment and economic recovery.

Medicaid is unique in that it responds automatically to health and economic crises, expanding as needed to meet health care needs during a recession while the reverse occurs in better economic times. Medicaid funding is critical to addressing the behavioral health needs of children and families both in the formal child welfare system as well as families in need of preventive services.

Skyrocketing unemployment, and unprecedented decline in state revenues are creating historic state budget shortfalls. States and territories are struggling to meet the growing demand for vital public services. Some states have implemented deep cuts to their Medicaid programs while other states anticipate similar reductions. In addition, other vital human services will have to absorb significant cuts that will harm the families we serve.

State budgets are strained as reserve funds are gone. We are starting a new state fiscal year in days and Moody’s Investors, a top nonpartisan credit-rating service, has reported that most states cannot cover tax revenue losses and, in order to avoid extreme budget cuts, additional direct assistance is required.
An increase in the FMAP has been deployed in past recessions and is one of the most effective ways for Congress to help stabilize the economy. Such increases preserve health care during a public health emergency, aid local governments, and maintain other critical services threatened by this crisis.

To take action, please take 5 minutes to email your Senators and ask them to include an additional increase in the FMAP and continue to apply that increase to Title IV-E.

About the Author:

John Sciamanna is CWLA's Vice President of Public Policy.

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