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House Democrats to Reintroduce Bill to Lower Drug Prices, Stand Up to Big Pharma

Washington, DC — According to reports, House Democrats will once again introduce historic legislation to lower prescription drug costs. The bill will give Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices so that every American can pay less for the drugs they need. In response, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement: 

“This legislation addresses one of the biggest economic and health concerns Americans face — skyrocketing prescription drug prices. The single most effective way to lower drug prices is to give Medicare the power to negotiate on behalf of all Americans. Americans shouldn’t have to pay three times as much for drugs as people in other countries and shouldn’t have to choose between taking their medicine and buying their groceries. Republicans refused to even allow a vote on this bill on the Senate floor, but now with Democrats in charge of the Senate and the House, and Joe Biden in the White House, Americans can finally get relief from Pharma’s outrageous prices.”

BACKGROUND:

The Time To Act Is Now: Lower Drug Prices For All Americans

Medicaid Is A Lifeline For People With Disabilities

Medicaid is a vital source of care for people with disabilities across the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four, or 61 million Americans, have a disability. Research has shown the people with disabilities covered by Medicaid are more likely to receive comprehensive and consistent care than those who are either privately insured or uninsured. The Medicaid program also provides half of all long-term care in the United States, which includes essential home- and community-based services for people with disabilities. Protecting access to Medicaid is essential to ensuring people with disabilities continue to get the care they need.

Despite former President Trump’s war on Medicaid, the program is stronger than ever. Medicaid has served as a critical safety net as millions have lost jobs and their employer-based health insurance. Experts say an overwhelming majority of the people who have lost coverage during the pandemic have been able to get covered under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or through Medicaid. By November 2020, Medicaid enrollment had grown to an all-time high of 78 million Americans. Unfortunately, however, 14 states have not yet implemented the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, blocking as many as 6 million from coverage. 

President Biden is taking bold steps to strengthen the Medicaid program by signing the American Rescue Plan into law. This historic legislation includes the most significant health care expansion in a decade. Importantly, the American Rescue Plan provides additional financial incentives for the 14 states that have not implemented expansion. If the remaining states expanded Medicaid, an estimated 500,000 people with disabilities could gain coverage. Expanding access to health care is particularly important as millions of Americans have contracted the COVID-19, with some “long haulers” facing the possibility of lifelong disabilities. 

By The Numbers 

  • 61 Million U.S. Adults Have A Disability. 61 million Americans have a disability in the U.S. Thanks to the ACA, insurance companies can no longer deny them coverage, drop their coverage for no reason, or charge them more because of a pre-existing condition. 
  • 8.7 Million Nonelderly Adults With Disabilities Depend On Medicaid For Care. Nearly 8.7 million adults enrolled in Medicaid have a disability. 
  • More Than One In Three Medicaid Enrollees Under 65 Have A Disability. More than 1 in 3 adults under age 65 enrolled in Medicaid lives with at least one disability.
  • 500,000 People Of Color Could Gain Coverage If The Remaining Holdout States Adopted Medicaid Expansion. If Republicans did the right thing and expanded Medicaid in the remaining holdout states, more than 6 million people could enroll in coverage. This includes at least 500,000 people with disabilities. 
  • Nearly 45 Percent Of Adults With Disabilities Have Medicaid Coverage. Medicaid covers 45 percent of nonelderly adults with disabilities, including adults with physical disabilities, developmental disabilities, brain injuries, and mental illness.
  • Roughly 1.7 Million Nonelderly People With Disabilities Rely On Medicaid For Long Term Care. In 2011,1.7 million nonelderly people with disabilities relied on Medicaid for long-term care. 80 percent of this group receive community-based care. 

Republican Efforts To Block Medicaid Expansion Limits Health Care Access For People With Disabilities

Eleven years ago, the ACA opened the door for states to expand Medicaid, and the results are piling in: Medicaid expansion works. In addition to covering 15 million people, expansion has resulted in healthier people, communities, and economies. 

Study after study shows that Medicaid expansion increases access to care, improves financial security, and leads to better health outcomes. The program has increased access to lifesaving cancer screenings, improved infant and maternal health, and increased access to substance abuse treatment — and the list goes on. A growing body of evidence shows that expanding Medicaid has saved lives. Roughly half a million people with disabilities are being shut out of Medicaid coverage as a result of Republican efforts to block expansion.

People With Disabilities Rely On Medicaid Expansion For Coverage. Of the 8.7 million disabled adults enrolled in Medicaid, only 43 percent qualify for supplemental security income (SSI). The remaining 5 million beneficiaries do not receive SSI and therefore do not qualify for coverage based on their disability status alone, meaning they rely on the ACA’s Medicaid expansion or eligibility as low-income parents. 

Medicaid Expansion Helps Adults Gain Access To Care Without Having To Wait On A Disability Determination. Medicaid expansion helps adults with disabilities gain quicker access to coverage without waiting for a disability determination, which can take years. Per the Kaiser Family Foundation: “The ACA Medicaid expansion has enabled some people who were not previously eligible for coverage, and otherwise would be uninsured, to gain coverage. Some of these people have conditions that may not rise to the stringent level required to establish SSI eligibility, yet still have an ongoing need for health care services. Others may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits but, without the Medicaid expansion pathway, could be uninsured during the required 24-month waiting period before Medicare eligibility.” 

Medicaid Expansion Reduces Out-Of-Pocket Health Care Spending, Which Is Especially Important For People With Disabilities Who Often Have Limited Incomes. According to the Georgetown Center for Children and Families, between 2010 and 2015, the average out-of-pocket spending decreased in states that expanded Medicaid and increased in non-expansion states. A majority, or nearly 85 percent, of adults with disabilities who have Medicaid coverage earn annual incomes of less than 200 percent of the FPL, $12,060 for an individual, making access to affordable health care even more essential. 

Medicaid Is A Vital Source Of Care For People With Disabilities

Medicaid Helps People With Disabilities Receive Comprehensive, Consistent Care. “Nonelderly Medicaid adults with disabilities are four times as likely to receive nursing or other health care at home, more than 2.5 times as likely to have three or more functional limitations, and more than 1.5 times as likely to have 10 or more health care visits in a year compared to people with disabilities who are privately insured.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, 3/16/17]

Medicaid Covers A Broad Range Of Preventive And Medical Services. “Through Medicaid, nonelderly adults with disabilities have access to regular preventive care as well as medical care for illnesses and chronic conditions.  States must provide certain minimum services for adults, such as inpatient and outpatient hospital, physician, lab and x-ray, and nursing home services. States also can choose to provide a broad range of optional services, many of which are important to people with disabilities, such as prescription drugs, physical therapy, private duty nursing, personal care, rehabilitative services, and case management.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, 3/16/17]

Adults With Disabilities Are More Likely To Have Medicaid, And Less Likely To Have Private Insurance, Than Those Without Disabilities. “Those with disabilities are about three times as likely to be covered by Medicaid and about half as likely to have private insurance compared to those without disabilities. These differences are influenced by the greater health needs of people with disabilities and the fact that they are less likely to have access to employer-sponsored coverage.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, 3/16/17]

Medicaid Provides Half Of Long-Term Care In U.S. “Medicaid provides half the nation’s long-term care. Over the decades, states, CMS, providers and consumers have worked to broaden access to care in home and community based settings, where many seniors and people with disabilities would prefer to live…In 2013, the Medicaid program reached a major milestone: for the first time, the majority of Medicaid spending on long term services and supports (LTSS) was for home and community based services (HCBS) rather than for institutional care.” [Centers For Medicare & Medicaid Services, January 2017]

Medicaid Helps People With Disabilities Who Need Long-Term Care To Stay In Their Communities. “As of 2011, 80% of nonelderly people with disabilities who use Medicaid long-term care are served in the community, with the remaining 20% in institutions (Figure 13).  Over the last several decades, states have made substantial progress in serving more nonelderly adults with disabilities in the community instead of in nursing homes. HCBS typically are less expensive than nursing homes and are preferred by many nonelderly adults with disabilities.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, 3/16/17

Julie Reiskin, Executive Director of ColoradoCross Disability Coalition: Medicaid Helps People With Chronic Disabilities To Access The Care They Need In Their Communities. “It is Medicaid that provides the in-home aid who helps get an adult with quadriplegia out of bed, dressed and able to go to work in the morning. It is Medicaid that provides the in-home occupational therapist who works with the autistic child so she can live at home with her family — not be pushed into an institution.” [Reiskin, The Hill, 6/21/17]

Medicaid Increases Financial Security For People With Disabilities

Medicaid Is One Of The Most Effective Anti-Poverty Programs, Particularly For People With Disabilities. “Medicaid reduced the health inclusive poverty measure by 3.8 percentage points. This is comparable to the combined effect of all social insurance programs and greater than the effects of non-health means tested benefits and refundable tax credits…The poverty-reducing effects were greatest for adults with disabilities, the elderly children, and racial/ethnic minorities.” [Georgetown Center for Children and Families, 3/8/18

Medicaid Expansion Increased Employment For People With Disabilities.Individuals with disabilities are significantly more likely to be employed if they live in a state that has expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, a new study has found. Researchers at the University of Kansas co-authored a study that found a 6 percentage-point difference in employment rates among working-age adults with disabilities in states that expanded Medicaid and those that chose not to.” [The University Of Kansas, 12/21/16

Republican Drug Plan Puts Big Pharma First and Leaves Americans Behind

Washington, DC — Today, House Republicans released a bill that protects Big Pharma’s profits and ignores skyrocketing drug prices. In response, Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse issued the following statement:

“Once again, Republicans are putting drug companies first and Americans last. This bill will do little to help the millions of Americans who struggle to afford their prescription medications. Americans pay the highest prescription drug prices in the world, but instead of standing up to drug companies, Republicans are refusing to stand for meaningful change. We know Americans need real relief from the skyrocketing cost of drugs. That’s why Congress must lift the ban on Medicare negotiating drug prices in the American Families Plan. Giving Medicare the power to negotiate lower drug prices is the single more effective thing we can do to reduce drug costs and help American families afford the prescriptions they need.”

Protect Our Care Releases Report Detailing Why Texas Should Expand Medicaid

Report Outlines What Texas Stands to Gain by Taking Advantage of the Incentives in the American Rescue Plan

Washington, DC — Today, Protect Our Care is releasing a report outlining the benefits of Medicaid expansion in Texas as part of the GOP Medicaid Deniers Campaign, the latest in a series of reports including Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Wisconsin. The report makes the case that Republicans like Gov. Greg Abbott should abandon their unpopular opposition to getting more people covered. With the passage of the American Rescue Plan, Republican lawmakers who have refused to expand Medicaid have another chance to do the right thing for their constituents. 

According to the report, nearly 1.7 million Texans could gain coverage and, even after paying for the cost of expansion, the state would receive an additional $1.93 billion in from the federal government thanks to the American Rescue Plan.

“Medicaid is vital for ensuring access to quality, affordable care, especially for communities of color, women, children, older adults, and rural Americans,” said Protect Our Care Communications Director Anne Shoup. “This report shows it’s time for Texas Republicans to stop playing politics with their constituents’ health. Texas ranks last in the nation for coverage, with the highest uninsured population in the country. By refusing to expand Medicaid in their state, Texas Republican lawmakers are denying insurance to their most vulnerable populations as we continue to battle the pandemic — it’s almost criminal. The American Rescue Plan gives holdout states yet another opportunity to do the right thing. If they refuse, they can expect to be held accountable.”

Read the new report on Texas.

Read the previous reports on Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.

Medicaid Works For Communities Of Color

April is Medicaid Awareness Month, and Medicaid plays a vital role in providing coverage for communities of color. Generations of structural racism have left people of color suffering from deep health inequities. As a result, Medicaid serves as an important source of coverage, especially for Black and Hispanic Americans, who experience poverty at a higher rate than white Americans and remain less likely to have access to quality care. These groups also face higher rates of chronic conditions that make access to affordable health coverage even more essential. 

On March 11, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law, historic legislation that includes the most significant health care expansion in a decade. The health care measures in the American Rescue Plan will have profound impacts on racial disparities in health care access and outcomes, particularly as COVID-19 has hit communities of color much harder than others. Protect Our Care recently released a report detailing how the American Rescue Plan works to reduce racial disparities in health care. 

The American Rescue Plan provides robust financial incentives for the 14 states that have not yet implemented the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Medicaid expansion. For example, under the American Rescue Plan, Georgia would receive nearly $1.4 billion in federal funding over the next two years if it adopts expansion, more than enough to cover the cost of the program. The American Rescue Plan also works to reduce racial inequities by enabling states to expand Medicaid coverage to new mothers 12 months postpartum. 

Republican Efforts To Block Medicaid Expansion Hurt Communities Of Color 

Medicaid expansion has already played a vital role in reducing racial disparities in health care access and has served as a critical safety net as millions have lost jobs and their employer-based health insurance during the pandemic. Despite the overwhelming benefits of Medicaid expansion, Republicans have spent years undermining the ACA and its expansion of Medicaid at every turn, blocking millions from coverage.

People of color, and specifically Black Americans, are more likely to live in the 14 states that have not implemented Medicaid expansion. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, people of color make up nearly 60 percent of the four million uninsured adults who could gain coverage if the remaining non-expansion states adopted expansion. This translates to roughly 2.4 million people of color who are currently blocked from Medicaid coverage. 

By The Numbers: Medicaid Is An Important Source Of Coverage For Black & Hispanic Americans

  • 1 In 5 Medicaid Enrollees Is Black. Black Americans make up 13.4 percent of the U.S. population but 20 percent of Medicaid enrollees. 
  • 30 Percent Of Medicaid Enrollees Are Hispanic. Hispanic people make up 18.3% of the U.S. population but 30 percent of Medicaid enrollees. 
  • Roughly 2.4 Million People Of Color Could Gain Coverage If Remaining States Adopted Medicaid Expansion. If Republicans did the right thing and expanded Medicaid in the remaining holdout states, 4 million uninsured adults could gain coverage; people of color make up nearly 60 percent of this group, translating to roughly 2.4 million people. 

Medicaid Helps Children Of Color. “Medicaid and CHIP are primary sources of health coverage for all children. These programs play a particularly important role for children of color, who are disproportionately represented among beneficiaries because they are more likely to be economically disadvantaged…Research shows that Medicaid/CHIP coverage for children expands access to health care and has long term benefits. The rate of children having a well-child checkup and a usual source of care are comparable for children covered by Medicaid/CHIP compared to those who are privately insured, but much lower for children who are uninsured. Medicaid coverage is particularly important for our most disadvantaged children because it leads to longer, healthier lives, a better chance in school, and more prosperous futures.” [Georgetown Center for Children and Families, 4/26/17

Medicaid Provides Coverage Comparable To Employer-Sponsored Insurance, Significantly Improving Access To Care For Patients. “Urban Institute researchers also have found that Medicaid provides beneficiaries with access to health care services that is comparable to — but less costly on an out-of-pocket basis than — what they would receive through employer-sponsored insurance. If these beneficiaries were uninsured, they would be significantly less likely to have a usual source of care and more likely to forgo needed health care services.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 11/22/19

Medicaid Reduces Poverty. “Medicaid is among the most effective antipoverty programs. Medicaid reduced the health inclusive poverty measure by 3.8 percentage points. This is comparable to the combined effect of all social insurance programs and greater than the effects of non-health means tested benefits and refundable tax credits.” [Georgetown Center for Children and Families, 3/8/21

Research Confirms That The ACA’s Medicaid Expansion Improves Health Care Equity: 

Medicaid expansion has been key to improving racial equity in health insurance coverage and access to care. The program has played an important role in increasing coverage rates for communities of color; after the implementation of the ACA, gaps in insurance coverage narrowed the most in states that adopted Medicaid expansion. Today, a Black person living in an expansion state is more likely to be insured than a white person residing in a state that rejected Medicaid expansion.  

Research confirms that Medicaid expansion increases access to care, improves financial security, and leads to better health outcomes. A growing body of evidence shows that the expansion of Medicaid has saved lives. Expansion has also been tied to improvements in disease-specific diagnosis and treatment, particularly for people of color. 

  • Reduced Racial Disparities In Health Insurance Coverage And Access To Care. The ACA led to historic reductions in racial disparities in access to health care, but racial gaps in insurance coverage narrowed the most in states that adopted Medicaid expansion. Per the Commonwealth Fund: “Coverage disparities in expansion states narrowed the most over the period…The black–white coverage gap in those states dropped from 8.4 percentage points to 3.7 points, while the difference between Hispanic and white uninsured rates fell from 23.2 points to 12.7 points.” Additionally, the ACA significantly reduced racial disparities in the share of people who went without care because of cost. 
  • Reduced Disparities In Infant And Maternal Health. Multiple studies draw the connection between Medicaid expansion and reduced infant and maternal mortality rates. One study found that reductions in maternal mortality in expansion states were concentrated among Black mothers, “suggesting that expansion could be contributing to decreasing racial disparities in maternal mortality.” Expansion has also been tied to improving health outcomes for black babies, significantly reducing racial disparities in low birth weight and premature birth. 
  • Improvements In Disease-Specific Diagnosis And Treatment. Medicaid expansion reduced racial disparities in cancer care and resulted in earlier diagnosis and treatment for Black patients. Medicaid expansion also improved access to care for patients of color with kidney disease. According to the Center for American Progress, Black women were more likely to receive care because of the ACA. 
  • Reduced Income Inequality & Improved Financial Security For Families. Policies to boost financial well-being undoubtedly help people of color, who on average have lower incomes and median wealth than their white counterparts. A January 2021 study from Health Affairs found that the ACA helped reduce income inequality across the board, but much more dramatically in Medicaid expansion states. The bottom 10th percentile of earners In Medicaid expansion states saw a 22.4 percent boost in their income, compared to 11.4 percent in non-expansion states. A study in Health Affairs found that Medicaid expansion also caused a “significant” reduction in poverty. The chance of accruing medical debt is 20 percent lower in states that have expanded Medicaid. Additionally, a 2018 National Bureau of Economic Research analysis found that Medicaid expansion led to a nearly $6 billion decline in unpaid medical bills and to higher credit scores. 

Protect Our Care Marks Medicaid Awareness Month, American Rescue Plan With Nationwide Events

Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Representatives Tim Ryan (D-OH), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes (D-WI), Headlined Events in Alaska, Georgia, Maine, North Carolina, Ohio, West Virginia, Wisconsin

Protect Our Care hosted events across the country to recognize Medicaid Awareness Month and highlight recent efforts to expand Medicaid programs in the states that have yet to enact expansion. With the passage of the American Rescue Plan, which provides robust financial incentives for the 14 states that have not yet implemented Medicaid expansion, Republican lawmakers in holdout states are out of excuses to resist doing the right thing for their constituents. 

Protect Our Care held events nationwide with U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), U.S. Representatives Tim Ryan (D-OH-13), Gwen Moore (D-WI-4), Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes (D-WI), state and local elected officials, and health care storytellers to emphasize the impact Medicaid has on American families.

Highlights and coverage from Protect Our Care’s events:

ALASKA
Wednesday, April 5, 2021 — Medicaid Awareness Month Virtual Event with State Rep. Spohnholz, Alaska Children’s Trust, and Advocates: Rep. Ivy Spohnholz, Alaska Children’s Trust CEO and Executive Director Trevor Storrs and advocates Erin Kirkland and Carolyn Savina Allen, joined Protect Our Care Alaska for a virtual press conference to discuss how the American Rescue Plan strengthens Medicaid in Alaska, and highlight the critical role the program plays in providing health care in the state, especially Alaska’s children. “The Affordable Care Act pays for Alaskans who were covered by Medicaid Expansion at a 90/10 match. That’s the same match as those federal transportation dollars that we love to bring home to the state of Alaska,” said Rep. Ivy Spohnholz. “Medicaid Expansion has brought in $2.2 billion to our economy at a time when we really needed that. Those dollars are fueling good, high-paying jobs in the health care sector that employees 15% of Alaskans.” You can watch the event here.

FLORIDA

Friday, April 16, 2021 — Medicaid Awareness/ARP Postpartum Extension Virtual Event with State Rep. Kamia Brown, Florida Voices for Health, FL Health Justice Project, and Advocates: State Rep. Kamia Brown, Florida Health Justice Project, Southern Birth Justice Network, Florida Voices for Health and maternal health storytellers joined Protect Our Care Florida for a virtual Zoom event to call on the Senate to sign onto the postpartum Medicaid extension recently passed through a budgetary bill by the Florida House of Representatives. This provision comes at a time when the federal government is offering new incentives for states like Florida to expand their Medicaid programs through the American Rescue Plan. You can watch the event here.

GEORGIA
Wednesday, April 14, 2021 — Medicaid Awareness Month Virtual Event with Georgia Healthcare Experts: Georgians for a Health Future, small business, faith, and health Advocates joined  Protect Our Care Georgia for a virtual press conference to call on elected officials to pass Medicaid expansion. As calls for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to quickly formally disapprove of Georgia’s 1115 waiver continue, Georgia’s health care advocates are urging state leaders to drop costly legal battles and pass full Medicaid expansion. Laura Colbert, Executive Director at Georgians for a Healthy Future, described Medicaid expansion as a deal too good to pass up. “It has proven very successful in the other thirty eight states that have adopted it. Medicaid expansion improves health outcomes for adults, improves maternal and infant health, produces budget savings for states and reduces racial health inequities. Over 400 studies have been done that support these facts. The numbers speak for themselves and it’s time for our state to act,” Colbert said. You can watch the event here.

MAINE
Monday, April 12, 2021 — Medicaid Press Call with State Legislators and Advocates: State. Rep. Thom Harnett, Maine Alliance for Addiction and Mental Health Services, Maine Equal Justice, and Maine Consumers for Affordable Health Care joined Protect Our Care Maine for a press call to discuss how the American Rescue Plan strengthens Medicaid in Maine, and to highlight the critical role the program plays in providing health care in the state, including Mainers struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Speakers called for greater federal support for Medicaid and its critical measures that help communities of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, indigenous communities, Mainers with disabilities, seniors, women and children all access care. Rep. Harnett stressed, “it is crystal clear that Medicaid is vital to ensuring access to quality, affordable care, especially for communities of color. It is beyond time for Republicans to stop playing politics with their constituents’ health. By refusing to expand Medicaid in their states, Republicans are denying insurance to their most vulnerable populations. The American Rescue Plan gives holdout states yet another opportunity to do the right thing.” You can listen to audio recording here.

NORTH CAROLINA

Tuesday, April 13, 2021 — Medicaid Awareness Month Virtual Event with Rep. Linda Cooper-Sugggs, North Carolina Justice Center and Advocates: North Carolina leaders and health care advocates including Rep. Linda Cooper-Suggs and the North Carolina Justice Center joined Protect Our Care North Carolina for a virtual press conference to call on the North Carolina General Assembly to pass Medicaid expansion in the state. “The amount of money that would come into North Carolina from the American Rescue Plan’s incentives at the same time that we could save lives by covering more North Carolinians…what other choice do we have but to expand Medicaid?” said Rep. Linda-Cooper Suggs. “This is an issue that’s personal to my family and my community,” said Matt Leatherman, whose daughter relies on Medicaid for coverage. “Expanding Medicaid is the evidently correct thing, both morally and fiscally.” You can watch the event here.

OHIO

Thursday, April 15, 2021 — Medicaid Awareness Month Virtual Event with Rep. Tim Ryan, State Rep. Crawley and Advocates: Rep. Tim Ryan, State Rep. Eric Crawley and advocates joined Protect Our Care Ohio for a virtual press conference to discuss how the American Rescue Plan (ARP) strengthens Medicaid, including enhancements to postpartum care for Ohio women enrolled in Medicaid. Speakers also discussed the “Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021,” which would build on the ARP. Rep. Tim Ryan spoke about Democrats’ efforts to protect access to cost-effective coverage. “The American Rescue Plan secures coverage for more than 7 million additional Americans under the current law, but I am not stopping there, we must continue to work to shore up care for those who have been underserved in the past,” Ryan said. Kelsey Hopkins, Policy Associate at Groundwork Ohio, added, “Medicaid eligible pregnant women should be eligible for 12-month continuous postpartum coverage as included in the American Rescue Plan. It is a powerful tool in preventing infant and maternal mortality and morbidity.” You can watch the event here.

Coverage:

WFMJ-TV (NBC Youngstown): Rep. Tim Ryan and Advocates Discuss Medicaid Expansion and ARP Postpartum Provisions

WEST VIRGINIA

Wednesday, April 14, 2021 — Medicaid Awareness Month Virtual Event with West Virginians for Affordable Health Care, Planned Parenthood, Social Workers, and Advocates: Health care advocates joined Protect Our Care, WV for a virtual press conference to discuss how the American Rescue Plan strengthens Medicaid in West Virginia,  and highlight the critical role the program plays in providing health care in the state, including those struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Speakers also called out Senator Shelley Moore Capito, as well as Congressmen David McKinley, Alex Mooney and Congresswoman Carol Miller, for voting against the American Rescue Plan and its important Medicaid measures that help children, seniors, and West Virginians with disabilities access care. “The American Rescue Plan shows people that someone has their back by making health care more affordable, and providing support for the hard job of childcare and child rearing,” said Sam Hickman, Director of the West Virginia chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. “West Virginia was already seeing more people sign up for care under expanded Medicaid, without about 30,000 more people becoming eligible,” Hickman said, pointing out that with the resources included in the American Rescue Plan, even more West Virginians have access to care.” You can watch the event here.

WISCONSIN

Tuesday, April 6, 2021 — Medicaid Awareness Month Virtual Event with Rep. Gwen Moore, Wisconsin State Officials, and Advocates: Congresswoman Gwen Moore joined Citizen Action of Wisconsin and Protect Our Care for a virtual press event, along with Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes, State Representative Sara Rodriguez, and a school nurse, to call on the Wisconsin Legislature to pass BadgerCare expansion in the state budget. The event is part of Citizen Action of Wisconsin’s ongoing Week of Action in support of health care investments in the state budget and is part of Protect Our Care’s recognition of April as Medicaid Awareness Month. Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-Milwaukee) underscored the fiscal implications for the state of Wisconsin if Republicans once again refuse to expand Badgercare, citing the Legislative Fiscal Bureau’s analysis that continued obstruction would cost the state more than $1.6 billion over just the next two years. “Here’s your opportunity to run government like a business,” she noted, “Instead, you’re leaving billions of dollars on the table.” You can watch the event here.

Thursday, April 8, 2021 — Medicaid Awareness Month Virtual Event with U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, and Advocates: U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin headlined a virtual media event hosted by Citizen Action of Wisconsin and Protect Our Care Wisconsin calling on Republicans to pass Medicaid expansion in the state.State Representative Jodi Emerson, a retired Wisconsin pediatrician, and home healthcare provider all joined the event to speak about the benefit of expanding Badgercare. In her remarks, Sen. Tammy Baldwin reminded viewers of the toll the pandemic has taken on so many families, noting the historic job loss and associated impacts of the employer based coverage system that defines American health care. “People in Wisconsin must have quality, affordable health care coverage during and after this crisis,” Baldwin said. “Wisconsin needs to accept the federal investment in Badgercare now.” You can watch the event here.

Coverage

WFRV (CBS Green Bay):  Senator Baldwin Is Calling For Medicaid Expansion 

WFRV (CBS Green Bay): Expanding Badgercare Debate 

WFRV (CBS Green Bay): Calls To Expand Medicaid 

WFRV (CBS Green Bay): Calls To Expand Medicaid 

WFRV (CBS Green Bay): Calls To Expand Medicaid

WFRV (CBS Green Bay): Calls To Expand Medicaid

WisPolitics: U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin and state Rep. Jodi Emerson slammed state Republican lawmakers while advocating for Medicaid expansion.

Protect Our Care Releases Reports Detailing Why States Should Expand Medicaid

Reports on Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Wisconsin Outline What States Stand to Gain by Taking Advantage of the Incentives in the American Rescue Plan

Washington, DC — Today, Protect Our Care is releasing reports (FL, GA, NC, and WI) on the benefits of Medicaid expansion in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Wisconsin as part of the GOP Medicaid Deniers Campaign. These reports outline the benefits of expanding Medicaid in each respective state and further make the case that Republicans should abandon their unpopular opposition to getting more people covered. With the passage of the American Rescue Plan, Republican lawmakers who have refused to expand Medicaid have another chance to do the right thing for their constituents. 

Highlights of the reports:

  • In Florida, more than 1.3 million Floridians could gain coverage and, even after paying for the cost of expansion, the state would receive an additional $1.81 billion in from the federal government thanks to the American Rescue Plan.
  • In Georgia, more than 600,000 Georgians could gain coverage and, even after paying for the cost of expansion, the state would receive an additional $710 million from the federal government thanks to the American Rescue Plan.
  • In North Carolina, more than 591,000 North Carolinians could gain coverage and, even after paying for the cost of Medicaid expansion, the state would receive an additional$1.21 billion in additional funding from the federal government thanks to the American Rescue Plan.
  • In Wisconsin, more than 90,000 Wisconsinites could gain coverage, and, even after paying for the cost of expansion,  the state would receive an additional$1.14 billion from the federal government thanks to the American Rescue Plan.

“Medicaid is vital for ensuring access to quality, affordable care, especially for communities of color, women, children, older adults, and rural Americans,” said Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse. “These reports show it’s high time for Republicans to stop playing politics with their constituents’ health. By refusing to expand Medicaid in their states, Republicans lawmakers are denying insurance to their most vulnerable populations as we continue to battle the pandemic — it’s almost criminal. The American Rescue Plan gives holdout states yet another opportunity to do the right thing. If they refuse, they can expect to be held accountable.”

Read the reports on Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.

Protect Our Care Kicks Off Campaign to Hold “GOP Medicaid Deniers” Accountable for Putting Politics Over Health

Campaign Will Feature Website, Digital Ads, Polling, and Reports in States Where Republicans are Refusing to Expand Medicaid

Washington, DC — As part of Medicaid Awareness Month, Protect Our Care is launching a campaign to push the Republican governors and state legislators in the 14 holdout states to accept the additional funds now available to them through the American Rescue Plan to expand Medicaid. The campaign — featuring a website, polling, digital ads, and state reports — will also hold Republicans in Congress accountable for their votes against the American Rescue Plan and their efforts to sabotage Medicaid at every turn. Protect Our Care will focus the “GOP Medicaid Deniers” campaign in four states — Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Wisconsin — where GOP leaders put politics over the health of their citizens. 

“Medicaid is vital for ensuring access to quality, affordable care, especially for communities of color. Unfortunately, even as the benefits of the program are clear, Republicans continue to attack Medicaid,” said Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse. “It’s time for Republicans to stop playing politics with their constituents’ health. By refusing to expand Medicaid in their states, Republicans are denying insurance to their most vulnerable populations — it’s almost criminal. The American Rescue Plan gives holdout states yet another opportunity to do the right thing. If they refuse they can expect to be held accountable.”

Why Should Remaining Holdout States Expand Medicaid?

April is Medicaid Awareness Month, and the Republican lawmakers in the states that have not yet expanded Medicaid now have even more reason to do so. In addition to providing affordable coverage options for millions of uninsured Americans through the Affordable Care Act, the American Rescue Plan provides robust financial incentives for the 14 states that have not implemented Medicaid expansion. The new offer is too good for holdout states to turn down: In addition to covering 90 percent of the costs for the expansion population, the federal government will chip in an extra 5 percent for the traditional Medicaid population for two years. This translates to billions in additional dollars for the states. 

Despite the overwhelming benefits of Medicaid expansion, Republicans have spent years undermining the ACA and its expansion of Medicaid at every turn, blocking millions from coverage. Yet the program has become increasingly popular among conservative voters. In 2020, the country saw voters in two deeply conservative states, Oklahoma and Missouri, approve expansion. 75 percent of Americans have a favorable view toward the Medicaid program, and 61 percent of Americans in non-expansion states favor expansion. 

Research confirms that Medicaid expansion increases access to care, improves financial security, and leads to better health outcomes. Medicaid expansion has played a vital role in reducing racial disparities in health care access and has served as a critical safety net during the pandemic. An estimated four million uninsured adults — including 640,000 frontline workers, 500,000 people with disabilities, and 926,000 older adults aged 50 to 64 — could gain coverage if the remaining holdout states adopted expansion. Importantly, people of color make up nearly 60 percent of this group. In total, more than 6 million people could enroll in Medicaid if the remaining states implemented expansion.

States That Have Not Expanded MedicaidNumber Of Residents Who Could Gain Coverage
Alabama324,000
Florida1,312,000
Georgia 646,000
Kansas 139,000
Mississippi 207,000
Missouri*379,000
North Carolina591,000
South Carolina329,000
South Dakota43,000
Oklahoma*263,000
Tennessee323,000
Texas1,665,000
Wisconsin120,000
Wyoming32,000
Total6,373,000

*Voters in Missouri and Oklahoma have approved expansion in 2020, but these states have not yet implemented the program. Both states are eligible for enhanced funding under the American Rescue Plan. 

Medicaid Expansion Saves Lives. 

  • Reduced mortality in adults by nearly 4 percent. A study published in the Journal of Health Economics found that Medicaid expansion reduced mortality in people aged 20 to 64 by 3.6 percent.
  • Saved the lives of at least 19,200 older adults. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Medicaid expansion saved the lives of 19,200 older adults aged 55 to 64 between 2014 and 2017. At the same time,15,600 older adults died prematurely as a result of their states’ decision not to expand the program. 
  • Reduced cancer and heart-related deaths. While scientific advancements have led to improved prognosis for many diseases, Medicaid expansion increased access to care and, subsequently, improved disease outcomes. Between 1999 and 2017, cancer deaths dropped more in states that expanded Medicaid coverage under the ACA than in states that rejected expansion. Additionally, research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions found that Medicaid expansion was tied to fewer heart-related deaths. 
  • Reduced infant & maternal mortality. Multiple studies draw the connection between Medicaid expansion and reduced infant and maternal mortality rates. One study published in the American Journal of Public Health found the gains made in reducing infant mortality was more than 50 percent greater in states that expanded Medicaid, compared to those that did not. 

Medicaid Expansion Leads To Better Health Outcomes.

  • Improved health of enrollees. A survey of more than 3,000 Michigan Medicaid expansion enrollees found that the percentage of those reporting poor health days decreased over time, with the biggest decreases among Black and low-income patients. Similar research showed that patients in expansion states were less likely to report declining physical and mental health. Additionally, one study shows that tobacco users were more likely to quit in Medicaid expansion states.
  • Improved infant & maternal health. The uninsured rate for women of childbearing age in non-expansion states is nearly double than in states that expanded their programs (16 vs. 9 percent). Research from the Georgetown Center for Children and Families found that Medicaid expansion has helped fill gaps in maternal health coverage, leading to healthier mothers and babies. It also helps new mothers maintain access to coverage and important postpartum care after giving birth. 

Medicaid Expansion Helps People Access Treatment & Preventive Care. 

  • Increased access to preventative care, cancer screenings and disease-specific treatment. Medicaid expansion has helped patients access preventative care, including colon cancer screenings. Expansion also increased patient access to kidney transplants and made diabetes medication more affordable for low-income patients. The program was also tied to earlier diagnosis of colorectal cancer and reducing diabetes-related amputations.
  • Improved access to primary care & family planning. Two studies from Michigan showed that Medicaid expansion doubled low-income patients’ access to primary care, and that enrollees experienced improved access to birth control and family planning. 
  • Increased access to substance abuse treatment. Study after study has shown that Medicaid expansion has increased access to addiction treatment and mental health services. And new research shows that as many as 8,132 people were saved from fatal opioid overdoses as a direct result of Medicaid expansion.
  • Increased coverage for children. When parents have health insurance, their children are more likely to be insured. A study in Health Affairs found that 710,000 children gained public coverage as a result of their parents enrolling in Medicaid between 2013 and 2015. 

Medicaid Expansion Reduces Racial Disparities In Health Care. 

  • Reduced racial disparities in health insurance coverage and access to care. The ACA led to historic reductions in racial disparities in access to health care, but racial gaps in insurance coverage narrowed the most in states that adopted Medicaid expansion. Per the Commonwealth Fund: “Coverage disparities in expansion states narrowed the most over the period. The black–white coverage gap in those states dropped from 8.4 percentage points to 3.7 points, while the difference between Hispanic and white uninsured rates fell from 23.2 points to 12.7 points.” 
  • Reduced disparities in infant and maternal health. One study found that reductions in maternal mortality in expansion states were concentrated among Black mothers, “suggesting that expansion could be contributing to decreasing racial disparities in maternal mortality.” Expansion has also been tied to improving health outcomes for black babies, significantly reducing racial disparities in low birth weight and premature birth. 
  • Better access to care. Medicaid expansion reduced racial disparities in cancer care and resulted in earlier diagnosis and treatment for Black patients. According to the Center for American Progress, Black women were more likely to receive care because of the ACA.

Medicaid Expansion Improves Financial Security. 

  • Reduced income inequality. A January 2021 study from Health Affairs found that the ACA helped reduce income inequality across the board, but much more dramatically in Medicaid expansion states. The bottom 10th percentile of earners In Medicaid expansion states saw a 22.4 percent boost in their income, compared to 11.4 percent in non-expansion states. A study in Health Affairs found that Medicaid Expansion also caused a “significant” reduction in poverty. 
  • Reduced medical debt. The chance of accruing medical debt is 20 percent lower in states that have expanded Medicaid. Additionally, a 2018 National Bureau of Economic Research analysis found that Medicaid expansion led to a nearly $6 billion decline in unpaid medical bills and to higher credit scores. 
  • Boosted employment. Reports from Ohio and Michigan found that Medicaid expansion helped enrollees hold down jobs and look for work. Relatedly, a study from the University of Kansas found that people with disabilities are much more likely to be employed in states that have expanded Medicaid coverage. Additionally, the number of people who report not working because of a disability declined in expansion states.  

Medicaid Expansion Is A Lifeline For Rural Hospitals.

  • Lowered uncompensated care costs. Medicaid expansion has saved hospitals an average of $6.4 million In uncompensated care costs. In 2017, uncompensated care costs comprised 6 percent of total expenses for hospitals in states that rejected Medicaid expansiondouble the amount for hospitals located in expansion states. Additional research shows that expansion states saw a reduction in preventable hospitalizations and lower hospital costs. 
  • Increased rural hospital profits. More than 130 rural hospitals have closed since 2010. The vast majority closed in states that had not expanded Medicaid at the time of the hospital closure. Research confirms that expansion increased rural and safety-net hospital profit margins. Rural hospitals in Medicaid expansion states are 62 percent less likely to close, and 75 percent of vulnerable rural hospitals are in non-expansion states. 
  • Provides coverage for rural Americans. Thanks to the ACA, nearly 1.7 million rural Americans gained Medicaid coverage. The uninsured rate for low-income adults dropped from 35 percent to 16 percent in rural areas and small towns in states that expanded Medicaid. 

Medicaid Works For Children & Families

April is Medicaid Awareness Month. For decades, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) have been crucial sources of coverage for America’s children. Two-thirds of Americans have a personal connection to the program, either having received coverage themselves or knowing a friend or family member covered by Medicaid. And the Medicaid program remains widely popular as it has served as a lifeline for children and families during the coronavirus pandemic. As millions of families have lost their jobs and health care, Medicaid and the ACA have given them a place to turn to for comprehensive, affordable coverage. Unsurprisingly, by September 2020, Medicaid enrollment grew to an all-time high of 77 million Americans.  

Former President Trump spent years sabotaging the Medicaid program, which resulted in at least a million children losing Medicaid coverage. Now, President Biden is reversing course by signing the American Rescue Plan into law, historic legislation that includes the most significant health care expansion in a decade. The American Rescue Plan provides additional financial incentives for the 14 states that have not yet implemented Medicaid expansion, and it extends coverage to new mothers one year postpartum. These measures will have profound impacts on children and their families for years to come. 

Republican Efforts To Block Medicaid Expansion Reduces Children’s Coverage

Republican efforts to block Medicaid expansion continue to hurt children and their families. Research shows that when parents have access to Medicaid, children are more likely to be covered themselves. Alarmingly, the children’s uninsured rate in states that have rejected expansion is nearly double the rate in states that expanded the program. The Urban Institute estimates that more than 6 million people would enroll in Medicaid if the remaining 14 states implemented expansion, including some children who are currently eligible for the program but would newly enroll as their parents seek coverage. 

By The Numbers

More Than 37 Million Children Are Enrolled In Medicaid And CHIP. Roughly 37.4 million children in the United States are enrolled in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Nearly 2 in 5, or 37.5% of children in America have health insurance through Medicaid.

More Than 6 Million People Would Gain Coverage If Remaining States Expanded Medicaid. Pre-pandemic estimates from the Urban Institute found that roughly 6 million people, including children, would enroll in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) if the remaining states implemented expansion. 

The Children’s Uninsured Rate In Medicaid Holdout States Is Double The Rate In Expansion States. According to the Georgetown Center for Children and Families, in 2019, the child uninsured rate was 8.1 percent in holdout states, compared to 4.1 percent in states that adopted expansion.

Almost Half Of Births Are Covered By Medicaid. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 49 percent of births are covered by Medicaid. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, states have the option to extend coverage to new mothers for one year postpartum, which will improve maternal health outcomes. 

17 Percent Of Parents Have Health Insurance Through Medicaid. 17 percent of parents have health insurance through Medicaid. When parents are covered, their children are more likely to have access to health care. 

In 2010, Medicaid Kept 2.6 Million Americans Out Of Poverty. Even before the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid, the program kept 2.6 million people out of poverty, “making it the third largest anti-poverty program in the country,” according to the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. 

 

Medicaid Coverage Has Long-Term Benefits For Children 

New Research Shows Medicaid Prevents Children From Dying Young And From Developing A Disability As An Adult. “Minneapolis Fed economist Andrew Goodman-Bacon recently dropped a stone-cold classic of the genre, examining how the rollout of Medicaid in the late 1960s affected people who were children at the time. If you got health insurance through the program as a child, he found, you were less likely to die young; you were likelier to be employed and less likely to have a disability as an adult; and all these benefits actually wound up saving the government money.” [Vox, 3/25/21

  • Medicaid For Children “Pays For Itself.” “It helps so much, in fact, that it saves the government money in the long term. The fiscal benefits of the policy to the government, Goodman-Bacon concludes, amounted to about $200 billion (in 2017 dollars) if you calculated the net present value in 1965, compared to a coverage cost of roughly $92 billion.” [Vox, 3/25/21

Medicaid Helps Children Stay Healthy, Leads To Long-Term Benefits For Children When They Grow Up. “Medicaid coverage has a significant positive impact not only on children’s health, but also on their educational attainment and job earnings. Children covered by Medicaid during their childhood have better health as adults, with fewer hospitalizations and emergency room visits, research shows.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 4/18/17]

Thanks To Medicaid, Students Have Access To The Resources They Need To Focus In School. “Under [Medicaid’s Early Periodic Screening Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT)] benefit, children and adolescents under the age of 21 have guaranteed access to a robust set of comprehensive and preventive health services, including regular well-child exams; hearing, vision, and dental screenings; and other services to treat physical, mental, and developmental illnesses and disabilities. The EPSDT benefit also covers medically necessary supplies and equipment that help students in schools, such as hearing aids, eyeglasses, wheelchairs, and other assistive technology to help students hear and see.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 4/18/17]

One Study Found Medicaid To Have A Larger Impact On Child Poverty Than All Other Tested Benefits Combined. “Medicaid is among the most effective anti-poverty programs…Medicaid had a larger effect on child poverty than all non-health means tested benefits combined. It is estimated to reduce child poverty by 5.3 percentage points.” [Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, 3/8/18]

Medicaid Helps Keep Families Out Of Debt. “Recent expansions in Medicaid for children and adults correspond with a decline from 2011 to the first half of 2016 in the share of families reporting problems paying medical bills. The percentage of poor and near poor children and adults who were in families having problems paying medical bills decreased by almost 30 percent…Health care costs are consistently found to be one of the most significant drivers of bankruptcies. One study estimated that more than 60 percent of all bankruptcies in 2007 were due to medical costs.” [Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, March 2017]

The ACA’s Medicaid Expansion Helps Children Gain Access To Care

After the Affordable Care Act expanded access to Medicaid, the children’s uninsured rate fell to an all-time low. Research confirms expanding access to Medicaid for parents has had ripple effects for their children. At the same time, states that continue to reject expansion are limiting children’s health care access: 

When Parents Have Medicaid, Their Children Are More Likely To Have Regular Care. As summarized by Georgetown University’s Center on Children and Families, recent research finds that “Parents enrolled in Medicaid have children who are 29 percentage points more likely to receive a well-child visit. The relationship is strongest for families with household incomes between 100% and 200% [of the federal poverty line]. In these families, parents enrolled in Medicaid have children who are 45 percentage points more likely to receive a well-child visit.” [Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, 1/12/18]

Medicaid Expansion Led To Gains In Coverage For Children As Well As Parents. A study in Health Affairs found that “710,000 children gained public coverage when their parents enrolled in Medicaid between 2013 and 2015. If the remaining 19 non-expansion states expanded Medicaid, 200,000 additional children would gain health coverage through existing programs. The effect was largest among children whose parents gained Medicaid eligibility through the expansion.”  [Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, 1/12/18]

The Children’s Uninsured Rate In States That Have Rejected Expansion Is Twice The Rate In States That Expanded The Program — And That Gap Is Growing. “Growing numbers of uninsured children are concentrating in states that have not expanded Medicaid. Between 2016 and 2019, the child uninsured rate in non-expansion states grew at nearly three times the rate of expansion states. Non-expansion states saw their child uninsured rate jump from 6.5 percent to 8.1 percent during the period examined while expansion states saw it increase from 3.5 percent to 4.1 percent (see figure 3 ). Moreover, two non-expansion states, Texas and Florida, were responsible for 41 percent of the coverage losses for children over the three-year period.” [Georgetown Center For Children And Families, 2/17/21]