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Congresswomen Lizzie Fletcher, Nanette Diaz Barragán Introduce Legislation To Protect Medicaid Funding for Texas Hospitals

Washington, April 20, 2020 | Rocio Cruz

(Houston, TX) – Congresswomen Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07) and Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44) recently introduced legislation to help protect Medicaid funding for hospitals across Texas and the country.  The legislation would postpone for two years the Trump Administration’s Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Regulation (MFAR), which proposes a number of highly technical changes in the way state governments finance and report their Medicaid programs.  It includes new restrictions on state payments that, if implemented, experts believe would lead to severe cuts to Medicaid programs in many states, including Texas.  Congresswoman Fletcher and Barragán’s legislation to protect against these cuts was introduced last Friday.

“The proposed MFAR rule would put billions of dollars in federal funding that hospitals across Texas rely on to provide vital medical services at risk,” said Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher. “For years, Texas has worked closely with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to ensure transparency of matching funds, which I support, but this proposal would create an undue burden on health care providers and taxpayers across my state and across the country.  As our communities face a global health crisis, we must do everything possible to ensure our hospitals have more resources – not less.  I’m glad to introduce this legislation with Congresswoman Barragán to delay the implementation of this rule, and I will continue to work to ensure that Texans can get the care that they deserve.”

“Millions of Americans would lose access to healthcare if the Trump Administration’s MFAR is ever implemented.  It is a backdoor attempt to weaken the federal Medicaid program.  The result could be Medicaid eligibility restrictions and cuts in services in states across the country,” Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán said. 

“If the rule goes into effect, more than 1 million patients in California could lose access to care. Los Angeles County officials estimate that the county may lose between $400 and $500 million in Medicaid funding each year, leaving our most vulnerable residents without healthcare,” Barragán explained.  “L.A. County could lose thousands of hospital beds as a result of this rule. Hospitals are under severe financial strain as they treat COVID-19 patients.  We should do everything we can to help them now, not make it harder for them to get Medicaid funding.  

“Our communities cannot afford a drastic reduction in health care services during a global pandemic,” Barragán said.

Last month, Congresswoman Fletcher, along with Congressmen Michael C. Burgess (TX-26), Marc Veasey (TX-33), and Pete Olson (TX-22), led a bipartisan Texas delegation letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) highlighting the harmful effects this letter could cause to Texas hospitals.  In their letter, the members note:

“Texas has worked with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to implement regional financing mechanisms to fund the state’s share of the program and operates under years of precedent and approval.  We are concerned that the new conditions proposed by CMS would prohibit the existing approved methods of finance and create ambiguity for the Texas Medicaid program in the future.”

You can read the full text of the letter here