The United States Senate will soon vote on S. 1716, the Emergency Health Care Relief Act of 2005. The bill is sponsored by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) and ranking Democrat Max Baucus (D-MT). This bill would ensure that Katrina survivors have access to health services by providing immediate Medicaid coverage to victims of Hurricane Katrina -- expanding Medicaid eligibility for this population for 5 months, renewable for another 5 months if necessary. The bill would also create an emergency fund for health expenditures that would allow Katrina survivors to maintain their employer-sponsored health insurance coverage and receive financial support for uncompensated care. These two provisions guarantee that Katrina survivors have access to a wide range of services, ranging from primary and preventive healthcare to needed mental health services. Among other things, the bill would provide federal support to the Medicaid programs of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, by fully paying for all program expenditures. States that are hosting Katrina survivors would receive a 100% federal match for services provided to evacuees.
TAKE ACTION NOW. Send an electronic letter to your senators urging them to support S. 1716.
The administration, of course, has been quietly trying to undermine this bill.
Very busy this morning, you'll get something original from me later.