Public health care systems applaud Congresswomen Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44) and Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher (TX-7), for introducing legislation that would prevent the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) from finalizing the proposed Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Regulation (MFAR) for two years. This legislation is especially critical for public health care systems, who already have severe financial constraints from the COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure that they can continue serving low-income and vulnerable populations in this time of crisis.
The MFAR rule, proposed by CMS on November 18, 2019, severely restricts how states may pay for their Medicaid programs, and would upend California’s health care safety net, jeopardizing the stability of California’s public health care systems. The damage from this rule is hard to overstate – should this rule take effect, over 1 million patients could lose access to care in public health care systems alone, thousands of hospital beds could be eliminated, and several public health care systems may need to close their doors altogether – completely eliminating some counties’ trauma centers. Our communities cannot afford a drastic reduction in health care services during this unprecedented time of emergency.
Without Congress’ critical action to prevent CMS from finalizing MFAR, the viability of health care safety net providers, who are now being called upon to meet a national challenge and are stretched to their absolute limit, will be undermined. We urge Congress to prioritize and ensure the timely passage of the Barragán-Fletcher bill.
To learn more about MFAR, including the negative consequences for California, public health care systems, and state Medicaid programs across the country, check out our fact sheet.