Editor's note: This call to action comes to us from our friends at Campaign to End AIDS.
Tell Speaker Pelosi the Stimulus Package Must Include a Boost for Medicaid
Medicaid — the single largest payer for HIV/AIDS care in the U.S. — is facing serious cutbacks, as state governments struggle with a national recession and extremely tight budgets. Californians, for example, are facing a $1.1 billion cut to Medi-Cal that would hit the poor and elderly the hardest, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Medicaid cuts would be disastrous for poor and disabled people across the country — and particularly worrisome for poor people with HIV/AIDS. But there is a way to take action to protect Medicaid — and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is in an important position to help.
Congress is negotiating an economic stimulus package with President Bush right now, and an increase in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) for Medicaid has been part of the discussions . In 2003-04 a temporary FMAP boost helped states protect Medicaid from cuts, and a similar bump is badly needed right now.
But so far, Pelosi hasn't nailed down an FMAP increase — even though own her state is cutting healthcare and AIDS programs. Call and email Speaker Pelosi today to let her know that if she wants to protect Medicaid for people living with HIV/AIDS, she must work for an FMAP boost in the final stimulus package.
1. Call House Speaker Nancy Pelosi toll-free at 888-802-1207 and ask for Wendell Primus, her top policy aide.
2. Leave this simple message:
People living with HIV/AIDS need you and Speaker Pelosi to keep fighting for an increase in the Medicaid match rate — please make sure the final stimulus package boosts FMAP to save lives and help fight AIDS.
3. Send an email to Wendell Primus: firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: People with AIDS need your leadership
I am concerned by press reports that a temporary increase in the Medicaid match rate may not be included in an economic stimulus package. People with HIV/AIDS desperately need pro-active steps to bolster state Medicaid programs before harmful eligibility cuts are made. Medicaid is the anchor to the nation's health system and the largest source of public financing for HIV/AIDS care. No stimulus package is complete without a temporary increase in Medicaid financing combined with a requirement that states not cut eligibility during the current economic downturn. Please ensure that healthcare for the nation's most vulnerable is protected in the final stimulus package.
The stimulus package isn't done yet — the Senate will take up the proposal next week, and there's expected to be a push to add extended unemployment insurance, as well as the FMAP boost. It's important that Speaker Pelosi and her top policy aide hear clearly and loudly from our community: Medicaid and people with AIDS need your help!