WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), a member of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, today introduced an amendment to the reconciliation bill that would protect more than 600,000 Ohioans who gained coverage through the state’s Medicaid expansion from Republican attacks on Medicaid and health coverage. The amendment would also encourage more states to expand Medicaid and prevent costly emergency room visits by maintaining the federal contribution for expansion states at 100 percent. Brown’s amendment is cosponsored by U.S. Sens. Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).
“Congressional Republicans are trying to ram through a bill that would cut off health coverage for millions of Americans by repealing the individual mandate and potentially rolling back Medicaid coverage – both of which are reckless policy decisions that could threaten health insurance coverage for more than 600,000 Ohioans who are now insured thanks to Ohio’s Medicaid expansion,” Brown said. “Medicaid expansion has helped increase access to preventive care for low-income families and reduce costly emergency room visits that drive up health care spending. Thirty states – and the District of Columbia – have done the right thing by expanding Medicaid and they deserve the continued support of the federal government in caring for new patients. This amendment would encourage more states to expand Medicaid by maintaining the federal share at 100 percent, paid for by closing tax loopholes for the wealthy companies that move investments overseas.”
Since Medicaid’s enactment in 1965, Medicaid has used the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) to determine the federal government’s share of the cost of state Medicaid programs. Under the Affordable Care Act, states that elected to expand Medicaid currently receive a 100 percent matching rate to cover the cost of the newly-eligible Medicaid enrollees. Starting in 2017, the FMAP share of Medicaid dollars in these states will slowly be reduced until it reaches 90 percent by 2020.
Brown’s amendment would permanently extend the Medicaid expansion FMAP rate at 100 percent. Thirty states and the District of Columbia have expanded their Medicaid programs. The cost of extending the enhanced FMAP past 2020 would be offset through a combination of tax fixes including: enacting the Buffett rule, which would ensure that wealthy households pay their fair share of taxes; closing loopholes that allow companies to use inversion to avoid paying taxes by shifting their headquarters overseas; and fixing the executive compensation loophole.