Millions of Americans Stand To Gain Coverage

Washington, D.C.– Last night, the House Energy and Commerce Committee released legislative text for one of the most pressing priorities in health care: closing the Medicaid coverage gap. Nationwide, millions of adults in 12 states lack insurance coverage because of Republican leaders’ refusal to expand Medicaid. This includes older adults, people with disabilities, and working families. The vast majority of those stuck in the coverage gap are people of color. This legislation would ensure all of these individuals have access to affordable coverage. In response, Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“Democrats are delivering on their promises to lower health costs and improve care. In most states, Medicaid expansion is a lifeline; it reduces racial disparities in health care, creates healthier communities and strengthens economies. Closing the coverage gap is the single most important thing Congress can do to address the inequities laid bare by the pandemic. This legislation will drive down uninsured rates in states like Texas, Florida, and Georgia, where we’ve seen devastating health care outcomes simply because patients cannot afford care. We commend Chairman Pallone and all the Democrats on the committee for their hard work to improve health care access for our nation’s most vulnerable.” 

Background:

Closing The Coverage Gap Will Expand Access To 5.8 Million Uninsured Americans In Non-Expansion States. The Energy and Commerce Committee’s plan to close the Medicaid coverage gap through establishing federal Medicaid programs in non-expansion states and reducing health care premiums through reinsurance programs would drop the number of uninsured Americans by nearly 6 million people. These provisions and making the American Rescue Plan Act subsidies permanent would decrease uninsured Black individuals by 33.5 percent, Latino/Hispanic individuals by 15.7 percent, Asian/Pacific Islander individuals by 16.7 percent, and American Indian and Alaskan Natives by 23.6 percent. 

Medicaid Expansion Saves Lives

Expansion Increases Access To Preventive Care And Life Saving Treatments. Through Medicaid expansion, uninsured adults can gain access to preventive care and treatments such as colon cancer screenings, affordable diabetes medication, and mental health and addiction treatment

Medicaid Improves Health Outcomes And Reduces Mortality. 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. Medicaid expansion also 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.

Medicaid Expansion Reduces Income Inequality and Lowers Health Costs

Reduced Income Inequality And Medical Debt. Medicaid expansion under the ACA caused a “significant” reduction in poverty and reduced income inequality across the board by 5.3 percent. In states that have expanded Medicaid, the chance of accruing medical debt is 20 percent lower than non-expansion states. 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.