Dear U.S. Secretary Becerra,
Thank you for taking strong steps to ensure that families had access to health coverage during the COVID-19 public health emergency. We need your action again to provide strong oversight of the states to ensure there is continued Medicaid coverage for our families!
We are deeply concerned about the recent loss of Medicaid coverage by nearly 3.8 million individuals, a figure that is likely an underestimate due to limited available data. Equally troubling is that the majority of these coverage losses stem from administrative issues. Based on data compiled by the Kaiser Family Foundation, it's evident that 73% of those disenrolled faced termination due to procedural factors. These issues within the administrative process highlight substantial challenges in various states, including the delivery of notices and renewal forms to enrollees, insufficient public education campaigns, inadequate support for individuals seeking to renew coverage, and other related obstacles. To ensure the safeguarding of patients' access to healthcare under the Medicaid program, we emphasize the necessity for enhanced transparency and stronger enforcement measures. Our specific calls to action for the administration include:
- Expedite the release of monthly data reports: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) should make sure that states' information is disclosed within 30 days of reporting, considering that the data unveiled today pertains only to April and represents data from merely 18 states. Urgent actions require timely information.
- Provide comprehensive details about enforcement actions: While CMS recently issued a fact sheet outlining its monitoring and oversight of states on July 18, stakeholders need precise information regarding states that have violated federal mandates and the subsequent resolutions. Such insights are vital for effective support and accountability.
- Maximize the enforcement authority granted to the Secretary of Health and Human Services: Congress bestowed the Secretary with enforcement capabilities in December. In this context, the Secretary must enforce corrective action plans in instances where states fall short of federal requirements. Suspension of terminations for procedural causes and the imposition of civil monetary penalties should follow if submitted or implemented action plans are inadequate. Despite the time-consuming nature of this process, its prompt initiation is of paramount importance.