CHA Supports Rescinding Rule that Undermines Medicaid Continuous Coverage Protections During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

public health emergency - pic of cut out intergenerational family on two hands

California Health Advocates signed onto to Justice in Aging and National Health Law Program’s recent letter that requests the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to fully rescind 42 C.F.R. § 433.400, which was promulgated in the final days of the Trump administration as an Interim Final Rule (IFR). The IFR largely gutted the continuous coverage protections for Medicaid enrollees during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) passed under Section 6008 of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). These protections have been critical for the most vulnerable, particularly elderly and disabled individuals, who continue to be most impacted by COVID.

The Trump IFR is directly contrary to the statutory protections Congress put in place to prevent health coverage losses during the Public Health Emergency (PHE) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service’s (CMS) original interpretation of that provision. See CMS, Families First Coronavirus Response Act Increased FMAP FAQs, 6 (Mar. 24, 2020). Moreover, it has been disastrous for Medicaid enrollees who have lost health coverage or experienced a reduction in benefits amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We agree that changed circumstances warrant the prompt rescission of the IFR and urge CMS to ensure the immediate and automatic restoration of health benefits relied upon by Medicaid enrollees, without requiring them to jump through any hoops to have their benefits restored.

Read the full letter for more details.

Karen Joy Fletcher

Our blogger Karen Joy Fletcher is CHA’s Communications Director. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she is the online “public face” of the organization, provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare and other health care issues. She is responsible for digital content creation, management of CHA’s editorial calendar, and managing all aspects of CHA’s social media presence. She loves being a “communicator” and enjoys networking and collaborating with the passionate people and agencies in the health advocacy field. See her current articles.