The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission on Friday voted to recommend that Congress automatically increase the federal share of Medicaid spending during recessions.
Under the policy, the federal government would temporarily raise the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage based on increases in state unemployment and reductions in total wages and salaries, rather than requiring Congress to approve each increase as it does now.
Experts have said the policy would bolster state Medicaid programs, which struggle to deal with enrollment and spending increases during economic downturns—changes caused by people working fewer hours and losing their jobs and employer-sponsored insurance. States often turn to provider rate cuts to rein in their Medicaid spending during recessions, which could force safety-net providers to close and reduce beneficiaries’ access to care.
MACPAC’s recommendation builds on an approach developed by the Government Accountability Office. The commission’s analysis found GAO’s model would have—in many instances—triggered