Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher: Energy and Commerce Committee Passes Vital Provisions of Biden’s American Rescue Plan
Fletcher’s Bill to Incentivize Medicaid Expansion Passes Committee as Part of COVID-19 Relief Package
Following a two-day markup, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce (E&C) passed several key provisions of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan to deliver much needed COVID-19 relief to families and communities across the country. This includes Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher’s bill, H.R. 871, the Expand Medicaid Now Act, to provide a new incentive for states to expand Medicaid. The E&C Committee also passed legislation to establish a national vaccination program, expand national testing efforts, ramp up health services in underserved communities, and other priorities outlined by the American Rescue Plan.
“The health and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact families across my district and across the country,” said Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher. “I am glad that our Energy and Commerce Committee has approved legislation to meet the many challenges in front of us: investing in a national vaccination program, implementing a national testing strategy, addressing health disparities for vulnerable populations, helping families struggling to pay bills, increasing internet access, and more. I am also glad that my bill to incentivize states like Texas to expand Medicaid and help make sure some of the people who need access to health care the most can get it passed as a part of our COVID-19 relief package.”
Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher added: “Our committee’s work moves forward key legislation outlined by President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, and I look forward to seeing it pass Congress.”
Fletcher’s bill, the Expand Medicaid Now Act, provides a new incentive for states to expand Medicaid by providing additional federal funding to any new expansion state. It increases the base Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAP), the rate at which the federal government pays for its share of a state’s Medicaid expenditures, by five percentage points for two years. The current FMAP for Texas is 61.81%. Under this legislation, if Texas were to expand Medicaid the federal share of Medicaid to the state would increase to 66.81% for two years.
Texas is one of 12 states that have not expanded Medicaid. An estimated 1.2 million Texans would be eligible for coverage under expansion, including an estimated 223,700 residents in Harris County.
In addition to Fletcher’s bill, the Energy and Commerce Committee passed its recommendations to deliver on key portions of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan (ARP). The ARP calls for the establishment of a national vaccination program, and this legislation provides critical funding and resources to increase COVID-19 vaccinations across the country. It also proposes scaling up testing to stop the spread of COVID-19, safely reopen schools, and protect at-risk populations. This legislation provides the funding and resources to do just that. The Committee’s also passed provisions relating to public health, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, environmental health, distance learning, and consumer protection as a part of the COVID-19 relief package.