Arizona seeks to drop maintenance of eligibility

Arizona became the first state to ask for a waiver from the maintenance of eligibility requirements in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the 2009 economic stimulus which provided for a temporary increase in the federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP).  The ACA prohibits states from reducing eligibility and adding to the uninsured before the Medicaid expansion begins in 2014.  It is expected that other states will request waivers as well.  In Congress the discussion of the state fiscal situation has raised the possibility of extending the increased FMAP until 2014, a position favored by some Democratic leaders, but solidly opposed by the House Republican leadership and others concerned about deficit spending.  The Republican leaders may be sympathetic to passing legislation to overturn the maintenance of effort requirements, but they would need Democratic support to do so.  At this point it is not clear when or if Congress will address this issue at all, but extending the FMAP increase beyond July 1, 2011 and protecting Medicaid eligibility are policy priorities for The Arc and UCP.

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