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IN THE STATES: Lawmakers and Advocates Join Protect Our Care to Celebrate Medicaid Awareness Month

By April 28, 2022No Comments

U.S. Representative Chris Pappas (D-NH-01), State Lawmakers, and Health Care Advocates Called for Protecting and Strengthening Medicaid Coverage for Millions

April is Medicaid Awareness Month, and there has never been a more urgent time to highlight Medicaid’s overwhelming importance for millions of Americans in communities across the nation. Medicaid has served as a lifeline for the past two years, providing nearly 79 million Americans with access to high-quality, affordable care when they need it most. 

In the final week of Medicaid Awareness Month, Protect Our Care examined the role Medicaid plays in reducing disparities and improving health care outcomes for some of our nation’s most vulnerable populations, including communities of color, people living with disabilities, seniors and older adults, women, rural Americans, and children.

Nearly one in four Americans is now covered by Medicaid, making it a pillar of the American health care system. Still, there is more work to be done. Between closing the Medicaid coverage gap and ensuring American families can continue to access affordable coverage, lawmakers must prioritize protecting and strengthening this vital program for years to come. 

Throughout the month, Protect Our Care released fact sheets and hosted nationwide events with elected officials, storytellers, and health care advocates to highlight Medicaid’s critical role in America, discuss what needs to be done to expand and strengthen the program, and raise awareness of the consequences of Republican threats. 

A look back at Medicaid Awareness Month 2022 themed weeks:

  • Week 1: Medicaid is Working! Week one focused on how Medicaid has improved the lives of millions even amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Week 2: Close the Coverage Gap. Week two brought attention to the urgent need to close the Medicaid coverage gap. 
  • Week 3: Protect Medicaid Coverage. Week three focused on how millions of Americans face losing their Medicaid coverage coverage when the COVID-19 public health emergency ends and how Republican officials across the country are waging a relentless war on Medicaid. 
  • Week 4: Medicaid & Health Equity. The final week highlighted how Medicaid is our most powerful tool in fighting for health equity. 

ARIZONA

On Friday, April 22, Arizona’s health care experts and advocates joined Protect Our Care Arizona for an event highlighting how Medicaid has provided Arizonans with access to quality, affordable health care, strengthened local economies, and improved health outcomes across the state. “The provisions under the National Public Health Emergency that were in place due to COVID, that actually froze Medicaid disenrollment across the country– meaning that people wouldn’t be dropped during this period of a public health emergency, that’s all at risk right now,” said Carmen Heredia, CEO of Valle del Sol. You can watch the event here.

COVERAGE:

  • KJZZ (NPR): Half a million Arizonans at risk of losing Medicaid coverage

GEORGIA

On Thursday, April 28, State Representative Rebecca Mitchell and advocates joined Protect Our Care Georgia to highlight the critical role Medicaid plays in providing Georgia’s women and mothers with access to quality, affordable health care, and urge Republican lawmakers to finally expand Medicaid and close the coverage gap in Georgia. “We know that Medicaid is a lifeline for Georgians and is an integral part of the fabric of our communities,” said State Representative Rebecca Mitchell. “But despite this, we’re seeing Georgia’s Republican leadership put politics over the health and well-being of Georgians, and refuse to fully expand Medicaid. The bottom line is Medicaid expansion is the right thing to do and is long overdue.“ You can watch the event here.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

On Wednesday, April 27, U.S. Representative Chris Pappas (D-NH-01) joined public health experts and Protect Our Care NH to highlight how Medicaid has provided Granite Staters with access to quality, affordable health care, strengthened local economies, and improved health outcomes across the state. “Nothing is more important to the folks I meet than making sure that they and their families have access to quality, affordable health care, and can access affordable prescriptions that aren’t going to break the bank,” said Congressman Pappas. “We’ve got more work to do on this issue in Washington, but I think it’s important to recognize the foresight that folks had in New Hampshire in expanding Medicaid, and making sure that more individuals in our state have access to the kind of coverage that would really be life-changing, and life-saving for tens of thousands of individuals.” You can watch the event here.

COVERAGE:

OHIO

On Thursday, April 14, Protect Our Care Ohio was joined by State Senator Tina Maharath and State Representative Thomas West to discuss the importance of protecting and strengthening Medicaid. Speakers also addressed the State of Ohio’s concerning approach to determining Medicaid eligibility when the federal COVID-19 public health emergency order ends. “Having health insurance through Medicaid helps Ohioans stay healthy, get to work, care for our families, and it helps alleviate the decision of paying for medical expenses or putting food on the table,” said State Senator Tina Maharath. “Medicaid has served as a lifeline during the pandemic. It has helped ensure access to quality health coverage for Ohioans, and we have to keep that coverage going and make sure Ohioans continue to have health insurance.” You can watch the event here.

COVERAGE:

  • Statehouse News Bureau: Democrats warn many Medicaid recipients in Ohio could lose coverage soon
  • Gongwer: Health Emergency Extended, Leaders Urge Caution In Medicaid Redetermination
  • Columbus Dispatch: More than 400,000 Ohioans at risk of losing Medicaid coverage this summer as COVID emergency ends
  • Ohio Capital Journal: As pandemic ebbs, fears grow that Ohioans will be improperly forced off of Medicaid

WISCONSIN

On Thursday, April 21, State Representatives Greta Neubauer (Racine) and Kristina Shelton (Green Bay) joined Protect Our Care and Peggy M., from Tomahawk, to discuss the critical role Medicaid plays in providing Wisconsinites with access to quality, affordable health care, and urge Republican lawmakers to finally accept the federal expansion of Medicaid available under the Affordable Care Act. “Across Wisconsin, there are many stories of folks who are facing unimaginable choices when it comes to their health,” said State Rep. Neubauer. “This session, the Republican-controlled legislature missed numerous opportunities to expand Medicaid for our fellow Wisconsinites. Despite public support and federal incentives, Republicans continued to ignore the calls to expand Medicaid.” You can watch the event here.