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Over 150 House Democrats call on party leaders to keep Medicaid protections in next relief package

Over 150 House Democrats call on party leaders to keep Medicaid protections in next relief package
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More than 150 Democratic House members are calling on their leaders to reject efforts to repeal Medicaid protections in the next coronavirus stimulus bill. 

The lawmakers, led by House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Lloyd DoggettLloyd Alton DoggettCongress must repeal tax breaks for the wealthy passed in CARES Act Ocasio-Cortez, progressives call on Senate not to confirm lobbyists or executives to future administration posts Trump order on drug prices faces long road to finish line MORE (D-Texas), sent a letter to Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump expressed doubt to donors GOP can hold Senate: report Senators battle over Supreme Court nominee in rare Saturday session Sunday shows preview: Trump, Biden gear up for final sprint to Election Day MORE (D-Calif.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyRocky Mountain National Park closed due to expanding Colorado wildfire Trump is out of touch with Republican voters on climate change The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Goldman Sachs - Iran, Russia election bombshell; final Prez debate tonight MORE (R-Calif.), asking them to keep the maintenance of effort (MOE) Medicaid provision in the next coronavirus relief package. 

The MOE requires states to maintain a certain coverage level for people on Medicaid and other federal social programs. In past recessions, states have pushed to eliminate the MOE so they can can cut spending in those areas. 

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“Modifying or repealing the MOE requirements would be an invitation for our states to provide even less assistance to our most vulnerable neighbors, especially in states that already have restrictive Medicaid programs,” the lawmakers wrote. “It would be extremely harmful to millions of children, seniors, pregnant women, individuals with disabilities and others who rely on Medicaid across the country."

This month the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA), a conservative healthcare think tank, published a report warning of the cost rising Medicaid claims could put on states.

The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities published a rebuttal report this week calling the FGA report “specious.” A policy aide told The Hill the effort to cut the MOE is “gaining steam” among Republican senators. 

“Weakening the MOE during the current crisis could cause hundreds of thousands of people — or more — to lose coverage and become uninsured in the months ahead,” the report read.

The U.S. has seen record numbers of unemployment in the past few weeks, leaving millions without their employer health insurance coverage amid a pandemic. 

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“With nearly 30 million uninsured patients prior to this crisis and millions filing for unemployment each week across the country, it is vital that we protect the Medicaid program from destructive cuts,” the lawmakers wrote. “We can ill afford to have even more people without coverage at a time when it is essential.”

Updated 3:11 p.m.