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Lawmakers and Advocates Joined Protect Our Care to Celebrate Medicaid Awareness Month This April

By May 1, 2023No Comments

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Peter Welch, U.S. Representatives James E. Clyburn, Jan Schakowsky, Gwen Moore, Steve Cohen, Hank Johnson, Judy Chu, Nanette Barragán, Steven Horsford, Shontel Brown, Don Davis, and Dan Goldman Headline Events Across the Nation.

April was the fifth annual Medicaid Awareness Month, and Protect Our Care hosted nationwide events to recognize the crucial role Medicaid plays in Americans’ health care and highlight how recent Republican attacks come at a time when more Americans are relying on the program than ever before. A record 92 million Americans are enrolled in Medicaid, which provides affordable care to people from all backgrounds, especially people with disabilities, people with mental health and substance use disorders, children, pregnant women, seniors in nursing homes, rural Americans, and people of color. But Republicans haven’t stopped their attacks, they just passed their extreme “Default on America” Act attempting to rip away health care for 21 million people who rely on Medicaid, and cutting critical health programs by 22 percent. Medicaid has strengthened local economies, provided Americans with access to quality, affordable health care, and improved health outcomes across the country.

Throughout the month, Protect Our Care also released a series of fact sheets on how Medicaid is a lifeline for women and children, communities of color, and rural Americans, as well as fact sheets covering states’ unwinding processRepublican threats to Medicaid, and the “Default on America” Act.

Medicaid Awareness Month 2023 included the following theme weeks:

  • Week 1: Republican threats to Medicaid. Week one focused on how Republicans are actively seeking cuts to Medicaid while GOP leaders in 10 states continue to block Medicaid expansion. 
  • Week 2: Medicaid helps women and kids. Week two brought attention to the vital role of Medicaid for mothers and children across the country. 
  • Week 3: Medicaid helps people of color and rural Americans. Week three highlighted how Medicaid is a critical tool to expand access to coverage, which together with policies that address other social and structural determinants of health, narrow stark disparities in health care, improve families’ financial security, and make people healthier.
  • Week 4: Medicaid helps seniors and people with disabilities. The final week focused on how Medicaid helps seniors and people with disabilities access lifesaving care.


Monday, March 20 — U.S. Representatives and Tri-Caucus Chairs Nanette Barragán, Judy Chu, and Steven Horsford, joined civil rights leaders and Protect Our Care for a press conference releasing a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) calling for state and federal action to keep families in America covered as Medicaid’s continuous coverage requirement ends. The letter stresses the importance of states meeting their obligations to ensure that millions of people in America do not lose critical health care coverage, and calls on HHS to clearly define and enforce states’ legal obligations. You can watch the full event here.


Tuesday, April 11 — Democratic Women’s Caucus Communications Task Force Co-Chairs Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI-04) and Rep. Shontel Brown (D-OH-11), and President of the National Partnership for Women & Families Jocelyn Frye joined Protect Our Care for a press conference to discuss the ways Medicaid helps women and children across the nation stay healthy. U.S. Representative Shontel Brown (D-OH-11) said, “Women of color consistently experience higher maternal mortality rates than white women primarily due to the intersection of multiple socio-economic factors, including generations of health inequities, and quite simply, institutional and structural racism. Expanding Medicaid and closing the coverage gap is a key element to improving maternal and reproductive health, especially for women of color.” You can watch the full event here.


Thursday, April 13 — U.S. Representatives and Co-Chairs of the Medicaid Expansion Caucus, Steve Cohen (D-TN-09), Hank Johnson (D-GA-04), and Don Davis (D-NC-01) joined Protect Our Care for a press conference discussing the urgency for the remaining 10 non-expansion states to follow North Carolina’s lead and finish the job to extend coverage to the estimated 1.9 million Americans in the coverage gap. During the call, the speakers discussed how expansion has never been more important as states face threats of major coverage losses due to the ongoing Medicaid unwinding. You can watch the full event here.


Thursday, April 20 — Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, House Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn, and Joan Alker with the Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy joined Protect Our Care to discuss Republicans’ radical plan to take health care away from millions of Americans. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy released the Republican plan to slash health care funding and Medicaid enrollment by imposing burdensome paperwork requirements. “The fact is Americans working in modestly-paid jobs often aren’t given affordable health care coverage by their employers,” said Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR). “Sometimes they’re working two or three part-time jobs. What House Republicans are essentially asking of these people, who are already on an economic tightrope, is to go out and fill out a mountain of paperwork every single month to maintain their health care. We ought to be looking at approaches that help people get more for their health care dollar.” You can watch the full event here.

Thursday, April 27 — Senator Peter Welch (D-VT), Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-09), and Nicole Jorwic, Chief of Campaigns and Advocacy at Caring Across Generations join Protect Our Care to discuss the Republicans’ ongoing threats and radical plan to cut Medicaid and take health care away from millions. The House Republicans recently passed the Republican plan which imposes cuts in key programs, including slashing health care and other vital discretionary funding and taking Medicaid away from millions by imposing burdensome paperwork requirements in exchange for not defaulting on the nation’s debt. You can watch the full event here.


Monday, April 3 — PHE Medicaid Unwinding Event with HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, Governor Katie Hobbs, and Arizona Health Care Advocates: Secretary Becerra virtually joined a panel of Arizona health leaders at Ability 360 to discuss efforts to expand access to quality health care, strengthen Medicaid, and promote equity. Additionally, on site, Navigators were available  to update contact information for community attendees. “Because we know from many people who have never had insurance, or never known that they have access to insurance through programs like Medicaid, that oftentimes they don’t know how to navigate the system, they don’t know what they’re entitled to. And they end up not getting the coverage even though they could,” said Secretary Becerra.



Tuesday, April 25 — Medicaid Awareness Month Event with HHS Regional Director Antrell Tyson, House Minority Leader James Beverly, Dr. Karen Kinsell, and Georgia Health Care Advocates: Minority Leader James Beverly, HHS Regional Director Antrell Tyson, Georgians for a Healthy Future Executive Director Laura Colbert and Dr. Karen Kinsell, a rural healthcare provider, joined Protect Our Care Georgia to highlight the value of Medicaid and access to health care for Georgians. “The GOP continues to push for reduced health care for the most marginalized members of our population including black and brown people, low-income wage earners, and the elderly. Their approach is one that strips away care from our most vulnerable citizens,” said Representative James Beverly, Minority Leader in the Georgia House of Representatives. “Speaker McCarthy and his counterparts continue to mock democracy by underserving the people. Their health care “plan” will only burden health providers, worsening our health care crisis.” Speakers noted a similar attitude toward Medicaid playing out in Georgia, one of 10 states that hasn’t fully expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, choosing instead to pursue a limited expansion which includes a work requirement. “It is a myth that scores of Georgians are enrolled in Medicaid while actively choosing not to work” said Laura Colbert, Executive Director of Georgians for a Healthy Future. You can watch the event here.



Thursday, April 27 — Medicaid Awareness Month Event with Congressman Dan Goldman: Congressman Dan Goldman (NY-10) joined Protect Our Care New York to highlight that House Republicans from the New York delegation voted for the “Default on America Act” legislation that rips away health care from as many as 21 million people who count on it. Congressman Goldman highlighted how Republicans, like Rep. George Santos (NY-03) and Rep. Mike Lawler (NY-17), are attacking Medicaid and access to health care as more Americans are relying on the program than ever before. Medicaid has strengthened local economies, provided New Yorkers with access to quality, affordable health care, and improved health outcomes across the state. “New Yorkers need to get out there and make their voices heard and make sure that every Republican member of the New York delegation who voted for this bill has to be held accountable,” said Congressman Goldman. “They’re voting to cut veterans’ care, they’re voting to cut child care, they’re voting to cut assistance for seniors, they’re voting to cut health care, they’re voting to cut food benefits and job programs. People rely on getting these benefits and services to subsist. It’s really emblematic of where Republican’s values are.” You can watch the event here.



Saturday, April 15 — Health Care and Medicaid PHE Unwinding Roundtable with State Delegates and Virginia Health Care Advocates: Protect Our Care Virginia joined Virginia state legislators and the Virginia Young Democrats to host a health care roundtable on how we can move forward in our fight to protect and strengthen health care in the face of escalating attacks on vital health care programs that millions of Virginians rely on. Happening during Medicaid Awareness Month, topics this panel discussed are threats to health care access including the recent Braidwood decision that guts the Affordable Care Act’s provision guaranteeing free preventive health care for 150 million Americans, recent rulings limiting access to mifepristone, the impacts of Medicaid unwinding in Virginia, and Republicans attacks on affordable health care. You can watch the event here.

Thursday, April 27 — Medicaid PHE Unwinding Event with Delegate Mark Sickles and Virginia Health Care Advocates: Delegate Mark Sickles and health care advocates joined Protect Our Care Virginia to highlight the current threat to the health care coverage of more than 300,000 Virginians, as Medicaid begins a process called “unwinding.” This event also follows House Republicans passing legislation that rips away health care from as many as 21 million people who count on it, and speakers highlighted how Republicans in Congress are attacking Medicaid and access to health care as more Virginians are relying on the program than ever before. “This is a great challenge for America, not just Virginians, who deal with this unwinding after the public health emergency,” said Delegate Mark Sickles, the former Chair of the Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee in the Virginia House of Delegates. “We need to make sure we are spending this money [for Medicaid] effectively, efficiently and get as close to universal coverage as we can, under this system we have now. So that is what we are working to do.” You can watch the event here.


  • Blue Virginia: Video: Delegate Sickles, Health Advocates Discuss Medicaid Unwinding and GOP’s Ongoing Threats following House Passage of Legislation to Take Away Health Care
  • Dogwood: House GOP Passes Bill That Would Take Food and Healthcare From Virginia Families
  • Cape Charles Mirror (an outlet on the Eastern Shore of Virginia) Medicaid’s impact on rural Americans
  • WVTF: Advocates worry thousands of Virginians could lose health insurance as pandemic rules come to an end
  • Virginian-Pilot: An estimated 350,000 people will lose Medicaid coverage as Virginia resumes eligibility review


Tuesday, April 26 — Morning Call Op-Ed on Medicaid by Action Together NEPA’s Kristin Volchansky on Medicaid: Protect Our Care Pennsylvania placed an opinion piece in the Morning Call by Kristin Volchansky, an advocate with Action Together NEPA, speaking out against proposed Medicaid cuts and the need to expand the program. “April is Medicaid Awareness Month, and while Medicaid provides access to care and financial security to more Americans than ever before, Republicans in Congress are threatening Medicaid by seeking severe cuts in budget negotiations. They are trying to impose burdensome paperwork requirements that could result in people losing coverage even when they are still eligible. Millions of people — seniors, people with behavioral health issues, people with disabilities, moms, children and so many more who rely on this program — could see their health care ripped away under the GOP plan,” Volchansky writes. You can read the full op-ed here.


Monday, April 17 As Goes Wisconsin Radio Show with Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Sarah Rodriguez, North Carolina State Representative Sarah Crawford, and Protect Our Care Wisconsin: Lieutenant Governor Sarah Rodriguez was joined on As Goes Wisconsin by North Carolina State Representative Sarah Crawford to discuss the importance of expanding Medicaid, and highlight lessons from the North Carolina state legislature, which recently approved Medicaid expansion, extending affordable health care to 600,000 North Carolinians. Lieutenant Governor Rodriguez highlighted how Wisconsin could bring $4 billion into the state by expanding BadgerCare, money that Republican lawmakers continue to leave on the table, despite overwhelming support for expansion.”The vast majority of Wisconsinites want us to expand BadgerCare – that includes Democrats and Republicans. We should be doing what the people of Wisconsin want, and that is expanding BadgerCare. It’s time to bring those federal dollars home.” You can listen to this segment of As Goes Wisconsin here

Thursday, April 27— Medicaid Awareness Month Event with Lieutenant Governor Sara Rodriguez and Wisconsin Health Care Advocates: Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Sara Rodriguez joined Protect Our Care Wisconsin for a roundtable discussion to highlight the value of Medicaid and access to health care for Wisconsinites. Speakers callED on state Republicans to finally fully expand Medicaid to bring billions of our tax dollars back to the state and provide an additional 90,000 Wisconsinites with access to quality, affordable health coverage. “It’s long past time for Wisconsin to finally take a leap forward and expand BadgerCare,” said Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Sara Rodriguez. “Expanding BadgerCare would not only provide healthcare coverage to nearly 90,000 Wisconsinites, including about 30,000 who are currently uninsured, but it would also help us draw down more than $2 BILLION in federal funding and save our state more than $1.6 BILLION over the biennium.” You can watch the event here.


  • UpNorthNews: House GOP Passes Bill That Would Take Food and Healthcare From Wisconsin Families