Emergency Aid to American Survivors of the Haiti Earthquake Act
The Emergency Aid to American Survivors of the Haiti Earthquake Act (S. 2949), provides crucial assistance to American survivors of the earthquake in Haiti. The bill raises the cap on the U.S. Repatriation Assistance Fund (Repatriation Fund) from $1 million to $25 million. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) uses the Repatriation Fund to reimburse States for the costs necessary to provide temporary assistance for returning Americans including medical care, a flight home, and food assistance.
The bill also addresses an expected shortfall in the Qualified Individual (QI) program which helps low-income Medicare beneficiaries with incomes between $13,000 and $14,600 per year by paying their Medicare Part B premiums, which are currently $1,157 per year. Specifically, each state Medicaid program pays the premiums with funding supplied by the federal government. These funds are capped, and when States hit their caps they can either continue paying the premiums with their own funds or stop new enrollment. Twenty-two states now anticipate shortfalls in their federal QI program funding, and at least one of those has already announced that it is capping enrollment. This provision would cover all projected shortfalls in State QI programs by increasing the funds available in calendar year 2010 by $65 million.