June 10, 2020
The California Medical Association (CMA) and six other large state medical associations signed a joint letter asking the U.S. Senate to prioritize the stability of our state-federal partnerships that form the foundation of our health care delivery system. The letter urged Congress to provide additional aid to states to protect the health care workforce and to prevent irreversible state health care cuts.
With millions of Americans losing their jobs and employer-sponsored health insurance coverage, Medicaid has become an essential safety net for families. Half of America’s children and disabled were already enrolled in Medicaid prior to COVID-19, and enrollment is growing rapidly.
The increase in unemployment has significantly reduced state tax revenues at the same time as states have been forced to commit substantial additional resources to fight the economic and health care impact of COVID-19. Now faced with massive deficits, states will be forced to cut health care funding. Such cuts will further strain physicians and hospitals, who are already reeling financially from the COVID outbreak, and who will be needed during the second surge caused by months of delayed care.
“We cannot afford to lose our current health care workforce during this crisis,” the letter said. “More help is needed for states and physicians to meet the increasing Medicaid enrollment demands and our patient’s health care needs.”
Medicaid physicians have yet to receive any federal assistance and they will not be able to sustain state cuts and remain accessible to patients enrolled in Medicaid and other federal, state and local health care programs.
CMA is urging Congress to increase Medicaid matching funds by 14% and provide an additional $100 billion for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Provider Relief Fund and distribute those fund with a more equitable formula based on each provider’s COVID-19 related expenses and revenue loss from all payors.
The letter also called on Congress to
- Pass legislation that includes protection against unfair lawsuits for physicians
- Include telehealth video and audio-only services in all federally-regulated programs and plans, particularly for our more vulnerable Medicare Advantage patients
- Prioritize the production, distribution, and availability of personal protective equipment and testing, and accelerate efforts to conduct contact tracing.
Read the full letter here.