Bennet, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Support State Medicaid Programs During an Economic Crisis

Bill Would Increase Medicaid Funding for Americans Experiencing Unemployment Due to COVID-19

Washington, D.C. – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet and a group of his colleagues are introducing the Coronavirus Medicaid Response Act. This legislation would respond to the increased need for health care during this public health and economic crisis by creating a quicker and more responsive process for supporting state Medicaid programs. It would address fluctuating demand in states for Medicaid by automatically connecting the Medicaid Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) to state unemployment levels, so that additional federal aid would ebb and flow with a state’s economy.

“As we continue to battle COVID-19, states like Colorado are grappling with the increase in demand for Medicaid coverage while also facing major budget shortfalls,” said Bennet. “Our Coronavirus Medicaid Response Act would automatically help stabilize Medicaid programs across the country during this public health and economic crisis and other periods of increased demand.”

“The Coronavirus Medicaid Response Act is an important piece of legislation that would have the triple benefit of helping to lessen the severity of recessions, improve health coverage and prevent damaging cuts to education and other priorities. It extends a bipartisan approach to expanding federal support for Medicaid in economic downturns that was pursued by President Bush and President Obama and has been supported by economists across the political spectrum, making it a permanent feature of our economic policy going forward,” said Jason Furman, Former Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Obama, Professor of the Practice of Economic Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and the Department of Economics at Harvard University.

In order to ensure accuracy, a state’s FMAP increase would be calculated based on Local Area Unemployment Statistics collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and modified based on prospective and retrospective analysis. The Center on Budget on Policy Priorities (CBPP) estimates that if this bill were enacted during a downturn, Colorado would receive approximately $500 million in additional Medicaid funding per quarter.

A one-pager on the bill is available HERE.

In addition to Bennet, this legislation is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Bob Casey Jr. (D-Pa.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Angus King (I-Maine) Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.).