Press release

American Kidney Fund Adds Patient Voice to Coalition of Labor, Health Care and Health Insurance Providers Urging Congress to Increase Funding for Medicaid in States

Group's letter seeks higher federal funding to help states meet unprecedented need arising from COVID-19 crisis and record unemployment

ROCKVILLE, Md. (June 2, 2020) — The American Kidney Fund (AKF) today joined a coalition of national organizations representing patients, health care and health insurance providers, and other stakeholders in urging Congress to protect health care for vulnerable Americans by increasing critically-needed funding for Medicaid. The groups joined together to send a letter to Congressional leaders detailing the coming financial crisis facing states as a result of the national COVID-19 health emergency.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, over 41 million Americans have lost their jobs. These job losses are placing unprecedented strain on state governments — not just lost tax revenue but enormous increases in unemployment claims and Medicaid enrollment. The Congressional Budget Office and Wall Street predict that states will likely face shortfalls of approximately $650 billion in the next three years.

"Medicaid is often the first place states will look to for budget cuts — and the timing could not be worse," said LaVarne A. Burton, AKF president and CEO. "Patients' lives depend on their ability to access health care, and for many of the most vulnerable Americans, Medicaid provides that access. States simply cannot absorb the additional economic fallout from swelling Medicaid enrollments."

The Medicaid Federal Matching Assistance Percentages (FMAP) increase in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act was a positive first step, but it is clear it will not be enough over the longer-term.  A strong Medicaid program is essential to 75 million people — about 1 in 5 Americans, including millions of low-income children, senior citizens and people with disabilities and chronic illnesses.  The access to health care that Medicaid provides is crucial to health and financial stability of millions of people with and at risk for kidney disease.  

The group's letter is another example of AKF's extensive advocacy on the state and federal levels during the COVID-19 crisis, helping to ensure that the needs of kidney patients are understood and considered by policymakers as they make decisions that impact the chronically ill.

The letter was signed by the following groups:

  • American Academy of Family Physicians
  • American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
  • American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
  • American Kidney Fund
  • American Medical Association
  • America's Essential Hospitals
  • America's Health Insurance Plans
  • Association for Clinical Oncology
  • Association for Community Affiliated Plans
  • Association of American Medical Colleges
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
  • Catholic Health Association of the United States
  • Children's Hospital Association
  • Families USA
  • Federation of American Hospitals
  • Healthcare Education Project
  • LeadingAge
  • Medicaid Health Plans of America
  • National Association of Community Health Centers
  • Service Employees International Union

About the American Kidney Fund

The American Kidney Fund (AKF) fights kidney disease on all fronts as the nonprofit with the greatest direct impact on people with kidney disease. AKF works on behalf of 1 in 7 Americans living with kidney disease, and the millions more at risk, with an unmatched scope of programs that support people wherever they are in their fight against kidney disease—from prevention through transplant. AKF fights for kidney health for all through programs that address early detection, disease management, financial assistance, clinical research, innovation and advocacy. AKF is one of the nation’s top-rated nonprofits, investing 97 cents of every donated dollar in programs, and holds the highest 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator for 21 consecutive years and the Platinum Seal of Transparency from Candid, formerly known as GuideStar. 

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