Medicaid Maintenance of Effort and the State Flexibility Act of 2011
Posted on May 25, 2011 by Mandy Beals
What is MOE
Medicaid Maintenance of Effort (MOE) regulations require states to meet the needs of their citizens by maintaining current Medicaid eligibility standards, methods, and procedures. MOE regulations assure access to quality, essential health coverage for seniors and people with disabilities receiving Medicaid. MOE regulations went into effect in 2009 and serve as a bridge to 2014, when the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented and all people will have access to quality, affordable healthcare.
Currently, states are in the process of telling the federal government to eliminate MOE regulations. This is an attempt to substantially reduce the quality and availability of necessary Medicaid services to millions of Americans.
Effects of Eliminating MOE
For the United States: 8.8 million Americans use Medicaid. Eliminating MOE will harm the Medicaid system and reduce necessary coverage for these people. Medicaid is especially important for people with disabilities as it provides attendant services and home health aides that allow people with disabilities to live independent lives in the community. For many people needing these services, Medicaid is their only option. MOE prevents states from reducing Medicaid eligibility levels or making rules that would make it more difficult for people to enroll in Medicaid. (Families USA, 2011)
For Missouri: Doing away with MOE will allow Missouri to CUT Medicaid eligibility, meaning people with disabilities and seniors will LOSE NECESSARY HEALTH COVERAGE AND ACCESS TO INDEPENDENT LIVING SERVICES AND SUPPORTS. Currently 298,000 Missourians with disabilities and seniors rely on Medicaid. 83,000 Missourians have the opportunity to live independently because of Medicaid home- and community-based services. Further, 23,000 people can pay for the cost of a nursing home because of this essential program. For most of these people, Medicaid is their only option for health care and long term care. Eliminating MOE could strip thousands of Missourians of their right to access health care and live independently in their community. (Families USA, 2011)
The State Flexibility Act of 2011
The State Flexibility Act was introduced this session. This act would fully repeal Medicaid Maintenance of Effort regulations and allow states to reduce Medicaid eligibility and deny coverage to people who need this program. This effort to save states money comes at the expense of seniors, people with disabilities, and their families who will no longer be able to afford necessary healthcare coverage and independent living services.
Reducing coverage and denying people essential Medicaid benefits will not meet the needs of Missouri’s citizens. Eliminating MOE will put seniors, people with disabilities, and their families in positions of greater need. The Missouri government should not be allowed to balance the budget at the expense of these citizens.
Supporters of this legislation say it allows states to make “common sense enrollment modernizations” to Medicaid. However, these “common sense modernizations” will take away essential health care coverage from thousands of seniors and people with disabilities. This will prove costly for Missouri families, communities, businesses, and the state as more and more families are unable to meet their daily and health care needs due to this reduced coverage. THIS DOES NOT MAKE SENSE FOR MISSOURI CITIZENS and is not a “common-sense” option.