August 22,2018

Press Contact:

Taylor Harvey (Wyden): 202-224-4515

Wyden, Pallone Warn Trump Administration Against Moving Forward on Harmful Medicaid Waivers

Health Care Leaders in House and Senate Tell Secretary Azar to Reject Medicaid Waivers that Jeopardize American’s Health Care

Washington, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and House Energy & Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr., D-N.J., today warned the Trump Administration against moving forward on Medicaid waivers submitted by Kentucky and other states that violate the purpose of the Medicaid program by restricting care and creating barriers for Americans who count on the program.

“Medicaid 1115 waiver demonstrations that adopt restrictive conditions on eligibility like those contained in the Kentucky HEALTH demonstration threaten to impede access to critical care for millions of Americans,” the members wrote. “Such actions imposing burdensome requirements to access essential coverage and care including onerous premiums and cost-sharing, arduous reporting requirements, and arbitrary work requirements are motivated purely on the basis of ideology and mistaken assumptions about what Medicaid is and who it covers.”

The letter, sent to the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, comes after a U.S. district court ruled that Kentucky’s Medicaid waiver violated the law by failing to justify how Kentucky’s waiver would improve care when an estimated 95,000 people would lose coverage if it were implemented. The statutory objective of Medicaid is to provide medical assistance to those whose income and resources are insufficient to meet the costs of necessary medical services.

CMS has begun to approve a number of unprecedented Medicaid waiver proposals in recent months. These waivers allow states to impose significant burdens on beneficiaries like locking them out of the program for months at a time and burying them in paperwork month after month to prove they are working – all while these families are working hard day in and day out just to get by.

The full letter can be found here.