September 14, 2005

Healthcare Relief Coming To Katrina Victims

Crapo, Senate Finance Committee unveil healthcare relief package

Washington, DC â??Displaced victims from Hurricane Katrina may be eligible for Medicaid disaster relief on a temporary basis under new legislation introduced today by the Senate Finance Committee, on which Idaho Senator Mike Crapo sits. Additionally, regulatory relief and financial assistance will be offered to states affected by Katrina, as well as healthcare providers of hurricane victims as they work to ensure uninterrupted medical care coverage.The relief package will provide access to temporary Medicaid benefits in disaster-affected states and to states that are treating people with income below the federal poverty level who are from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) designated disaster counties in Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi. Pregnant women and children, regardless of categorical, resource, or residence eligibility requirements will be covered up to 200 percent of the poverty level. Also included is funding to help subsidize the costs of private insurance for both employers and employees as well as cover the costs of uncompensated care and bad debt accumulated by hospitals, physicians and other healthcare providers. â??The Senate has a responsibility to address the needs of these displaced Americans in need of healthcare,â?? Crapo said. â??These funds will allow doctors to provide quality healthcare to those in this time of need without interruption. This package will also keep employers and employees, along with their families who are covered by job-based health insurance, covered during this time. The Senate has acted promptly on this matter to ensure that people are not denied critical treatment.â?? The provisions included in this package are scheduled to sunset in five months and eligible for an additional extension of five months at the end of the initial phase.