Adam Cancryn and Dan Diamond
FIRST IN PULSE: KLOBUCHAR LEADS BIPARTISAN PUSH TO BOOST AVAILABLE DOCTORS — Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and colleagues are calling on U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to waive restrictions that prevent doctors on certain employment-based visas, like the Conrad 30 program, from providing care beyond the specific restrictions approved for their immigration status.
“Doctors need to be able to act now to use their knowledge and training to save lives without fear of the loss of their immigration status,” write Klobuchar and Reps. Tom Cole (R-Okla), Abby Finkenauer (D-Iowa) and Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), along with 31 other members who signed the letter. The lawmakers warn that unless USCIS waives the restrictions, physicians on visas would potentially put their immigration status in jeopardy if they try to help.
CONSUMER GROUPS BACK MEDICAID FUNDING PROTECTIONS — Hundreds of consumer advocacy groups across 44 states are urging Hill leaders to preserve coverage rules tied to new funding increases for state Medicaid programs — despite opposition from Republicans and some governors like New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The rules were included in a Congressional coronavirus rescue package and require states to meet certain standards — like free testing and treatment and a ban on premium increases — in exchange for more federal funding. That’s irked Cuomo, who is seeking to revamp New York’s Medicaid program.
“In past recessions, in the absence of maintenance-of-effort rules, states have used eligibility cuts as a way to balance state budgets, causing millions of people — including children — to lose coverage,” the groups wrote.