June 9 (UPI) -- The Trump administration said Tuesday it would dole out $25 billion in delayed funding to Medicaid, CHIP and safety-net hospital providers after coming under pressure to do so.
The Department of Health and Human Services said that it will distribute $15 billion to providers who participate in state Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program. It will also dole out $10 billion to safety-net hospitals that treat the most vulnerable citizens, including a lot of Medicaid patients.
"Healthcare providers who focus on treating the most vulnerable Americans, including low-income and minority patients, are absolutely essential to our fight against COVID-19," said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. "HHS is using funds from Congress, secured by President Trump, to provide new targeted help for America's safety-net providers and clinicians who treat millions of Medicaid beneficiaries."
The distribution of the $25 billion has been largely delayed since it was allocated in April. The CARES Act and the "Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act" allocated $175 in relief funds to hospital and healthcare providers, including the most vulnerable.
Last week a bipartisan group of lawmakers pushed to distribute the funding to Medicaid providers as soon as possible.
The delay "could result in long-term financial hardship for providers who service some of our most vulnerable populations," a letter from the bipartisan group of lawmakers said. Authors of the letter included Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. D-N.J. and Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore.
Health policy experts had also pushed for more funds to be distributed directly to the most vulnerable.
Billions in funding has already been distributed to providers of Medicare, the federal health insurance program for age 65 or older, which is federally-funded. The Medicaid process is more complex. State governments pay Medicaid providers and the federal government reimburses them at various rates.
The Department of HHS announced that on Wednesday it will launch a "portal" for Medicaid and CHIP providers to report their annual patient revenue, which will be used to determine the amount of aid.