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Trump Administration Reverses Course on Medicaid Maintenance of Effort Provisions, Clearing the Way for Devastating Cuts in the Midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic

In a reversal of its own guidance, the Trump Administration has released an interim final rule that would weaken protections for millions of Medicaid beneficiaries during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to this new regulation from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), effective immediately states are permitted to make Medicaid benefit cuts during the national public health emergency without losing enhanced federal funding.

This means that state legislatures and/or Medicaid agencies can reduce or eliminate optional benefits (e.g., oral health, home health care, or substance use treatment), increase cost-sharing and premiums, and/or reduce benefit packages. These cuts would be devastating for the more than 70 million children, families, elderly, disabled individuals, and other low-income adults who rely on Medicaid for their health coverage.

While the interim final rule is effective immediately, public comments are due on January 4, 2021. We encourage all Medicaid stakeholders to submit comments and contact their congressional delegations, urging CMS to rescind this guidance and ensure that Medicaid coverage remains stable and strong throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

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