When Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, it included critical protections for people who rely on Medicaid during the pandemic. Congress provided additional Medicaid funding and said that states accepting the increased funding could not cut health care coverage, services, or increase costs. In November, the Trump Administration rolled back these protections.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued an Interim Final Rule (IFR) that allows states to keep the extra Medicaid funding but strips away protections for people. For example, under the IFR, states can: 

  • Cut full Medicaid coverage for older adults turning 65 years old. These older adults will face increased costs and lose coverage for critical services such as transportation, dental, vision, and hearing that Medicare does not cover. 
  • Eliminate or cut home and community-based services (HCBS) for older adults and individuals with disabilities, which may cause health crises or force them to be institutionalized. 
  • Cut coverage for eligible people after hospitals or other health care providers have helped them sign up for Medicaid. 
  • Cut all kinds of health care services, like dental and vision, resulting in individuals going without needed care or taking on unexpected medical costs. 

The Interim Final Rule also paves the way for mass Medicaid terminations as soon as the public health emergency ends. 

These health care cuts will disproportionately harm people of color, immigrants, older adults, and people with disabilities, and worsen existing health disparities.  

Comment today! The deadline to submit a comment on the IFR is January 4, 2021. 


  • The National Health Law Program has created the My Care Counts comment portal for individuals to tell HHS not to cut Medicaid and reject this bad policy. Be sure to customize and tell your story!  
  • Organizations are encouraged to submit comments as well. Email us if you would like an organizational template letter to work from. 

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