Washington DC — Today, Protect Our Care is joining 227 leading national and state organizations in sending a letter to Secretary Xavier Becerra to urge HHS to use every tool at their disposal to enforce state and federal action to keep families in America covered as Medicaid’s continuous coverage requirement ends. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress passed legislation to protect access to Medicaid by ensuring no one could be disenrolled during the public health emergency. As of April 1st, this requirement has ended, and states must re-evaluate their Medicaid rolls, which could result in millions of eligible families losing coverage due to paperwork requirements and red tape. This letter complements an effort led by Chairs of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus calling for state and federal action to keep families in America covered as Medicaid’s continuous coverage requirement ends. Rather than join this call to protect families’ health care, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is proposing legislation to take health care away from millions of people who rely on Medicaid to pay for doctor visits, medicine, and other essential services.
The letter was developed and circulated by the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, the Coalition on Human Needs, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the National Council of Urban Indian Health, National Urban League, Protect Our Care, and UnidosUS. In it, hundreds of organizations, including civil rights groups, faith community leaders, pediatricians and family doctors, nurses, hospitals, groups representing cancer survivors and patients with serious chronic illnesses, children’s groups, women’s groups, and more urge HHS to hold states accountable to prevent historic and unnecessary health coverage losses. As it stands, an estimated 15 million people could lose Medicaid nationwide, disproportionately harming children, women, people of color, and rural residents. Specifically, the letter urges CMS to ensure the following:
- Prevent states that are violating federal law from wrongfully terminating beneficiaries for purely procedural reasons.
- Hold state and local Medicaid agencies accountable for compliance with civil rights laws.
- Promote transparency and accountability by publishing state performance data as soon as possible.
- Hold states accountable for renewing coverage based on data matches “to the maximum extent practicable,” as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires for children, families, low-wage workers, people with disabilities, and older adults.
“Nearly one million Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders could lose access to affordable health care,” said Juliet K. Choi, President and CEO of the Asian Pacific Islander American Health Forum. “These are real lives, hardworking families who cannot afford this catastrophic cliff merely due to red tape and administrative bureaucracy. We urge the Biden-Harris Administration, in partnership with Congress and state leaders, to do the right thing by ensuring millions of Americans, including children, do not lose Medicaid coverage.”
“Some states are intent on pushing poor people out of Medicaid, terminating health care for millions, including many who remain eligible,” said Deborah Weinstein, Executive Director of the Coalition on Human Needs. “The Biden-Harris Administration is taking important steps to prevent a huge rise in people without health care, and a critical step they must also take is to prevent terminations of coverage when states are not doing what the law requires. Millions of people are depending on the Administration to hold states accountable”
“The National Urban League has long believed that access to health insurance and affordable, accessible health care is necessary for economic empowerment,” said Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League. “We remain concerned about the Medicaid redetermination period and the likelihood of nearly half of Black people enrolled in Medicaid losing coverage, not because they have become ineligible, but because of red tape. We thank the Administration for the work done so far to protect these individuals and families, and urge continued action on this at the state and federal levels.”
“It is the responsibility of every state and every governor to be sure that those who qualify for Medicaid stay covered. This means helping everyone to understand their coverage options and giving them the support they need to stay enrolled,” said Leslie Dach, Chair of Protect Our Care. “No one should lose their health care because they fail to submit the right paperwork or simply because of language barriers. Instead of taking care of business by protecting families whose health care is now in danger, people who are working hard every day, people with disabilities, children, and moms, Congressional Republicans propose ripping away basic health care from millions of people who rely on Medicaid. Rather, all lawmakers should work to protect and strengthen coverage for everyone.”
“Nearly 5 million Latinos will lose their health care if state Medicaid programs go back to operating as they did before the pandemic,” said Janet Murguía, President and CEO of UnidosUS. “That would be our community’s largest health coverage loss in history. We urge the Biden-Harris Administration to do everything in its power to prevent this public health catastrophe.”