DearColleague.us

Letter

From the office of:

Susan Wild

Sending Office: Honorable Susan Wild
Sent By:
Zach.Fowler@mail.house.gov

House Original Cosponsors on Bill: Reps. Susan Wild, Mike Doyle, Madeleine Dean, Mary Gay Scanlon, Raúl M. Grijalva

House Co-Signers on Letter: Reps. Susan Wild, Brian Fitzpatrick, Mary Gay Scanlon, Raúl M. Grijalva

Senate Lead: Sen. Bob Casey

Dear Colleague:

I will be introducing a bicameral bill that will prevent cuts in the federal matching rate for states’ Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) – cuts that are scheduled for October 1, 2020. I am seeking original cosponsors on that bill
and am simultaneously seeking co-signers on a letter to leadership urging action to save CHIP in the next COVID-19 package/stimulus. The text of the letter is below.

As you all know, CHIP is an insurance program that has historically enjoyed overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress and provides low-cost health coverage to children of families that earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford
private insurance.

Congress increased the program’s Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) by 11.5% for FY2020. This increase expires October 1, 2020, meaning that, unfortunately, CHIP’s FMAP may decline at the same time our states are struggling against a public health
emergency.  

My bill would extend the 11.5% increase to FMAP until October 2021. Additionally, states that meet the following preconditions will receive a 23% increase to their FMAP:

  • Do not increase premiums for CHIP coverage;
  • End CHIP eligibility reviews and all efforts to remove currently enrolled children from coverage; and
  • Take no other action to restrict any part of CHIP eligibility.

Failure to take immediate action puts millions of children at risk of losing health coverage and causes additional financial stress for every state. To be added as an original cosponsor on the bill and/or to be added as a co-signer on the letter to leadership,
please contact Zach Fowler (Zach.Fowler@mail.house.gov).

Sincerely,

Susan Wild

Member of Congress

 

April XX, 2020

 

 

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi

Speaker of the House

United States House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515

 

 

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy

Minority Leader

United States House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515

 

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Leader McCarthy:

 

We write today to respectfully request that any future legislation to address the ongoing coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) include language that incentivizes states to expand access to and safeguard current enrollment in the Children’s Health Insurance Program
(CHIP)—an insurance program that has historically enjoyed overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress, and that provides low-cost health coverage to children of families that earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford private insurance.

As the pandemic continues to inflict a level of stress and uncertainty on our nation’s families that is unparalleled in modern times, ensuring access to comprehensive health insurance for children will be of the utmost importance. This is especially true
as enrollment in CHIP in our states and across the nation increase as a result of COVID-19. We believe that the House must act to shore up coverage for CHIP by increasing the program’s Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) for states that meet certain
maintenance of effort requirements related to the pandemic. These efforts on CHIP should supplement, not supplant, an additional increase to the Medicaid FMAP.

As you are undoubtedly aware, Congress increased the CHIP FMAP by 11.5 percent for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 when it last extended the program. This increase expires at the end of FY 2020, meaning that, unfortunately, CHIP’s FMAP may decline at the same time
our states are struggling against a public health emergency. Because the CHIP FMAP is partially tied to the Medicaid FMAP, states will be provided some relief by the Medicaid FMAP increase in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. However, now is not
the time to shift any additional costs to states that aggressively seek to maintain stable and comprehensive coverage for their children. Failure to take immediate action puts millions of children at risk of losing health coverage and causes additional financial
stress that families simply cannot afford.

To remedy this problem, we ask that future legislation to address the COVID-19 crisis extend the current 11.5 percent increase to the CHIP FMAP for one year, until October 2021. This extension would be available to those states that do not maintain a waiting
period for CHIP enrollment during the current public health emergency. Further, was ask that states receive a 23 percent increase to their CHIP FMAP if they take the following, more aggressive steps to expand and maintain enrollment for the duration of the
public health emergency:

  • Do not increase premiums for CHIP coverage;
  • End CHIP eligibility reviews and all efforts to remove currently enrolled children from coverage; and
  • Take no other action to restrict any part of CHIP eligibility.

A 23 percent increase to the CHIP FMAP is not a new idea, and, in fact, mirrors what was in place nationally between FY 2016 and FY 2019. States that qualify for the 23 percent increase should receive it during any period in FY 2020 for which they meet the
maintenance of effort requirements we have detailed above, for all of FY 2021, then shift to an 11.5 percent increase in the FMAP for FY 2022. This will allow the states that benefit from the higher increase to their FMAP to gradually prepare for the return
to a normal rate.

COVID-19 poses many untold threats to the physical and mental well-being of America’s children. Access to health insurance that provides comprehensive coverage, including coverage for vaccines and mental health services, is a crucial part of responding to
the pandemic. To date, COVID legislation has made crucial investments in our local businesses, health systems, and the public health, and now is the time to make an investment in our children. We believe that boosting CHIP’s FMAP for states that take steps
to bolster and expand CHIP is a commonsense step for protecting America’s families for the duration of the pandemic.

Sincerely,

Members of Congress

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Family Issues, Finance, HealthCare

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