The new stimulus bill by House of Representatives would stop the Trump Administration’s planned Medicaid cut of $50 billion during the coronavirus pandemic. The measure would halt the Department of Health and Human Services from finalizing or implementing provisions of the Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Rule (MFAR), which was announced by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in November. It would additionally allocate $500 million for states to create nursing home strike teams to help manage outbreaks and includes $210 million for Medicare’s Quality Improvement Organizations to help operators struggling with infection control, Inside Health Policy reported.
Long-term care providers have previously pushed the agency to withdraw the regulation, saying it would hurt their supplemental payments. The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act also proposes to raise the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) by 14%. LeadingAge applauded the proposals in the measure.
“The bill also largely continues the previously enacted mandates to maintain Medicaid eligibility, which is important during this health crisis. Taken together, these provisions will help to ensure that those who need care will receive it, including older adults receiving long term services and supports,” Ruth Katz, senior vice president of public policy/advocacy for LeadingAge, told McKnight’s.
The American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living added that it’s grateful to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) for focusing on providing relief to long-term care workers and providers. The Senate has yet to announce a vote on the bill because Mitch McConnell has little interest in helping protect the poor elderly residents who need Medicaid to survive.
“Resources included in this bill will help respond to the deadly outbreak of COVID-19 in long term care facilities, including nursing homes and assisted living communities, across the country,” AHCA/NCAL said. “We look forward to working with the speaker’s office, as well as the House and the Senate as this bill moves through the legislative process.”