Below is an alert posted by our partners, Justice in Aging about possible devastating cuts to Medicaid. Comments are due January 4, 2021. This proposed rule change would mean that California could eliminate or cut ‘optional’ Medicaid benefits like Home and Community Based Services (HCBS), In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), and Multipurpose Senior Services Program (MSSP) as well as dental and vision and still get the higher federal funding match for Medicaid that states receive under the Families First legislation to respond to the public health emergency. It also means that older adults and people with disabilities could lose Medi-Cal eligibility in certain circumstances. It’s important to comment and let the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) know how these changes would be devastating for you and/or for older adults and people with disabilities and ask that they abandon the changes.
Here is the alert:
When Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, it included critical protections for people who rely on Medicaid during the pandemic. Congress provided additional Medicaid funding and said that states accepting the increased funding could not cut health care coverage, services, or increase costs. In November, the Trump Administration rolled back these protections.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued an Interim Final Rule (IFR) that allows states to keep the extra Medicaid funding but strips away protections for people. For example, under the IFR, states can:
- Cut full Medicaid coverage for older adults turning 65 years old. These older adults will face increased costs and lose coverage for critical services such as transportation, dental, vision, and hearing that Medicare does not cover.
- Eliminate or cut home and community-based services (HCBS) for older adults and individuals with disabilities, which may cause health crises or force them to be institutionalized.
- Cut coverage for eligible people after hospitals or other health care providers have helped them sign up for Medicaid.
- Cut all kinds of health care services, like dental and vision, resulting in individuals going without needed care or taking on unexpected medical costs.
The Interim Final Rule also paves the way for mass Medicaid terminations as soon as the public health emergency ends.
These health care cuts will disproportionately harm people of color, immigrants, older adults, and people with disabilities, and worsen existing health disparities.
Comment today! The deadline to submit a comment on the IFR is January 4, 2021.