Wednesday, April 10th 2002

Dear Senator:

We are writing in support of a temporary increase in the federal Medicaid matching rate (also known as the "FMAP"). Such a proposal would provide immediate and effective fiscal relief to states affected by the recent economic downturn and also help strengthen the Medicaid program that serves millions of low-income children, families, elderly and persons with disabilities.

States are experiencing severe revenue shortfalls. According to the National Governors Association, states have a fiscal shortfall of about $40 billion - a deficit more severe than the one states experienced during the worse year of the last recession. This budget deficit could rise as high as $50 billion because of additional state costs for homeland security and the slow recovery of state revenues.

Because nearly all states are required to balance their budgets even during a recession, states have no choice but to raise taxes and/or cut countercyclical programs like Medicaid even as low-income families that have lost their jobs and health insurance because of the economic downturn most need them. Such actions would dampen the prospects for a rapid and substantial economic recovery. To ensure that Medicaid beneficiaries are protected, we support inclusion of language which ensures that states who receive additional federal funding do not roll back eligibility.

A temporary increase in the FMAP would provide essential fiscal relief to states and help avert or reduce the magnitude of state cuts to Medicaid, and to other programs, that serve vulnerable low-income populations. We urge you to enact this FMAP increase expeditiously.

Sincerely,

AFL-CIO
Alliance for Children and Families
Alliance for Retired Americans
Alzheimer's Association
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging
American College of Nurse-Midwives
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
American College of Osteopathic Pediatricians
American Dental Education Association
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
American Federation of Teachers
American Health Care Association
American Hospital Association
American Medical Student Association
American Network of Community Options and Resources
American Osteopathic Association
American Psychiatric Association
American Public Health Association
Association for Ambulatory Behavioral Healthcare
Association of American Medical Colleges
Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs
Ascension Health
Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
Brain Injury Association of America
Catholic Charities USA
Families USA
Family Voices, Inc.
Friends Committee on National Legislation (Quaker)
International Union, UAW
Legal Action Center
Lutheran Services in America
March of Dimes
National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
National Alliance for the Mentally Ill
National Association for Children's Behavioral Health
National Association of Children's Hospitals
National Association for Home Care
National Association of Community Health Centers, Inc.
National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems
National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems
National Association of Social Workers
National Association of State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs
National Center for Assisted Living
National Council on the Aging
National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare
National Education Association
National Health Law Program
National Mental Health Association
National Partnership for Women & Families
Premier
Service Employees International Union
The Arc of the United States
Union of American Hebrew Congregations
United Cerebral Palsy Associations
United Jewish Communities
Voice of the Retarded

 

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