Millions of Americans who enrolled in Medicaid during the Covid pandemic could lose their coverage as of April 1 if Congress passes its omnibus spending bill.
The leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees unveiled the $1.7 trillion spending package on Tuesday. The full Congress must pass the legislation by end of day Friday in order to keep the government running.
Language in the 4,155-page bill would sunset a requirement of the Covid public health emergency that prohibited states from ousting people off Medicaid. The Biden Administration has been under growing pressure to declare the emergency over; twenty-five Republican governors wrote to President Biden on Monday, citing concerns about bloated Medicaid enrollment as a driving factor toward ending the emergency.
Medicaid grants health care coverage to nearly 80 million low-income people throughout the U.S. Millions would be taken off the program under the new legislation, which would also wind down extra funds currently given to states for the added Covid-era enrollees.
Options for those who are bumped could include the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) or private insurance through employers. Kids may be eligible to enroll in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
The spending package does extend the telehealth flexibilities that were introduced during the pandemic and led health care systems across the country to overhaul their approach to deliver care by smartphone or computer more frequently.
Under the proposal, the restrictions that once tightly governed telehealth care under Medicare will stay loosened through the end of 2024.