On Monday, January 27, the U.S. Supreme Court lifted the nationwide injunction against the new public charge regulations, allowing the rules to go into effect in all states (except Illinois where a statewide injunction is still in place). The new rules are set to go into effect on February 24, 2020. It is important to note that the rule itself does not apply to everyone and is rather narrow on who might be impacted. Yet fear and confusion about the rule can cause a chilling effect on those eligible for essential services; for example, children using health services are exempt which would not count in a public charge determination for either the child or family. That is why education about this rule change is so important. Bottom line: children living in Pennsylvania who qualify for Medicaid or CHIP should enroll!
On Thursday, January 30, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) issued guidance on Medicaid Block Grants that would allow states the option to use block grants or per capita caps that would alter the current federal-state financial partnership in exchange for purported new flexibility. However, block grants and per capita caps are just another way to cut people—including parents—from their health insurance or to cut the benefits they need. Research shows when parents are covered, kids are more likely to be covered too. Instead, we should be doubling down on efforts to keep parents and children covered in Pennsylvania! Fortunately, Governor Wolf has committed to avoid this latest attempt to limit health insurance access through Medicaid.
PPC also submitted comments on the proposed “Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Regulation” urging CMS to withdraw the proposed federal rule as it could have a profound, harmful effect on Pennsylvania’s Medicaid budget and threatens to seriously disrupt coverage for Pennsylvania children with disabilities, children living in low-income families and children living in and aging out of foster care. Instead, we implore CMS to focus efforts on collecting reliable, meaningful and accurate data to improve transparency related to financing and supplemental payments.
PPC is staying on top of these actions that attempt to limit the reach of Medicaid coverage and would harm the 1.2 million children in Pennsylvania who depend on Medicaid for the health care they need to succeed.