For Immediate Release
March 01, 2011

Washington, DC – The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) today urged the U.S. of House of Representatives to protect the maintenance of effort requirement on Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) under health care reform in response to a House Committee on Energy and Commerce hearing at which selected Governors will seek to eliminate this important protection and propose converting the Medicaid and CHIP programs into block grants.

Currently more than 50 million individuals rely on Medicaid and CHIP for health care. Under health care reform, states must maintain their current eligibility levels until 2014 for adults and 2019 for children. Repealing the Medicaid provisions in health care reform would allow states to rescind coverage to people currently accessing health care through these important programs.

“Our road map to economic recovery cannot rely on tax cuts for the wealthy and the dismantling of essential services for those who need it the most. Many in our communities work in small businesses and do not earn enough to afford health coverage,” said Kathy Lim Ko, APIAHF president and CEO. “More than one in ten Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders rely on the Medicaid program. We shouldn’t take health care away from our most vulnerable children and families as they struggle through this economic downturn.”

Other proposals to convert the Medicaid program into a block grant or otherwise capping funding for the program are not a solution to the rising costs of providing health care coverage. In the U.S. Territories, where the Medicaid program is capped, the governments of Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico have continually struggled to find adequate funds to provide the necessary benefits and provider payments for their residents.

The Medicaid program is a partnership between the federal government and the states that provides health care to low-income individuals and families. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approve plans designed by states to meet minimum services and coverage.

The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) influences policy, mobilizes communities, and strengthens programs and organizations to improve the health of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.