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Friday, May 24th 2002

The Honorable Susan Collins
United States Senate
172 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Collins:

On behalf of our nearly 5,000 hospital, health care system, network and other health care provider members, the American Hospital Association is writing to express our support for legislation to increase the Medicaid federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) that you have introduced with Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE). This bill is essential to ensuring that Americans continue to receive safety net health services.

Today, states face severe budgetary constraints that forecasters predict will continue as states’ recoveries lag well behind the national economic recovery. Medicaid budgets are being squeezed, and the provision of many basic and essential health services are at risk. In many regions of the nation Medicaid enrollments are being frozen even as the number of uninsured people rises, and patients who do have Medicaid coverage may be forced to forego necessary treatments due to higher out-of pocket costs. States need help to ensure that their citizens get the care they need.

Your bill offers help for states that maintain their Medicaid eligibility criteria by providing a temporary one percentage point increase in FMAP for all states for 18 months; by including a “hold harmless” provision for states in which FMAPs would otherwise decline in 2002 and 2003; and by adding $4.4 billion to the Title XX Social Service Block Grant.

We applaud your leadership on this important issue and support swift enactment of this legislation.


Rick Pollack
Executive Vice President

This letter was also sent to the Honorable Ben Nelson, US Senate

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