Given the seriousness of the COVID-19 epidemic and evidence that low-income seniors of color are in greater danger due to systems of racism, we are actively engaging with policymakers at every level to ensure their responses are prioritizing those at greatest risk of illness and death.
Here’s what we’re watching in Washington:
CDC Issues Moratorium on Evictions
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a nationwide temporary halt on residential evictions for nonpayment of rent. The moratorium takes effect on September 4, and is scheduled to end on December 31, 2020. Under the moratorium, tenants earning up to $99,000 ($198,000 for joint filers) cannot be evicted for not paying their rent if they can demonstrate certain hardships. Tenants can use this tool to determine if they qualify for the moratorium, which also generates a customized letter that tenants can download or email to their landlords.
While the eviction moratorium is much broader than the previous moratorium under the CARES Act, it does not forgive any of the back rent, which will become due when the eviction moratorium ends, or provide additional support to housing providers. It is now up to Congress to enact a rent relief bill that will help millions of tenants who are struggling to pay their back rent and remain housed.
Bill Introduced to Create a National Center for Anti-Racism
On Thursday, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Representatives Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced the Anti-Racism in Public Health Act of 2020. The bill would help expand research and investment into the public health impacts of structural racism and require the federal government to begin actively developing anti-racist health policy. The bill would create a National Center for Anti-Racism at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a Law Enforcement Violence Prevention Program.
A Second Judge Temporarily Blocks Parts of Trump Administration’s Changes to ACA Anti-Discrimination Rule
This week, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia granted a partial preliminary injunction blocking certain changes to the ACA Anti-Discrimination Rule, Section 1557. Specifically, the court blocked the Trump administration’s elimination of “sex stereotyping” from the definition of “discrimination on the basis of sex” and the incorporation of certain religious exemptions. In the 100 plus page opinion, the court, however, denied plaintiffs’ preliminary injunction with respect to other key parts of the rule, including the elimination of the prohibition on categorical coverage exclusions and the elimination of notice and taglines for individuals with Limited English Proficiency (LEP). The preliminary injunction is the second issued that blocks parts of the final rule. Earlier last month, a federal district court in the Eastern District of New York stayed the final rule’s repeal of the definition of discrimination on the basis of sex.
Florida Wants to Continue Cutting Retroactive Medicaid Coverage for Older Adults & People with Disabilities
Florida is once again trying to extend its Medicaid waiver that eliminates the federal protection that provides up to three months of retroactive Medicaid coverage for new applicants. The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) is seeking a two-year extension of its 1115 Managed Medical Assistance (MMA) Waiver, which would extend the waiver approval period through June 30, 2024. This extension request includes the waiver of retroactive Medicaid eligibility. Without this protection, Medicaid coverage for seniors, people with disabilities, and non-pregnant adults in Florida cannot start any earlier than the first day of the month of application.