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Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly and Protect Our Care Call for Federal Action to Close the Medicaid Coverage Gap

By June 23, 2021No Comments

Call Demonstrated Urgent Need for a Federal Solution to Close the Coverage Gap and Extend Coverage to Millions

Watch the Event Here

Washington, DC — Today, U.S. House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-SC-06) and U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL-02) joined Protect Our Care for a press call advocating for a federal solution for closing the Medicaid coverage gap. Republican leaders in 12 states have rejected Medicaid expansion, blocking millions of people from access to coverage. Four million uninsured adults — including at least 2.4 million people of color, 500,000 people with disabilities and almost a million older Americans — could gain Medicaid coverage if the remaining states adopted Medicaid expansion. 

The call came after leaders of the Congressional Tri-Caucus, which includes the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), and Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), joined more than 60 of their colleagues on a letter advocating for closing the coverage gap through the American Families Plan.

“Even as we welcome the result of last week’s Supreme Court decision upholding the ACA, there is something amiss in the 12 states that have not expanded Medicaid, where millions of Americans are left out of this coverage,” said Majority Leader James E. Clyburn (D-SC-06). “Of those 12 states, nine of them are in the South, where there are large pockets of poverty. Medicaid expansion would be such a tremendous benefit to South Carolinians who fall into this coverage gap. We must act to close this coverage gap now.” 

“Over the past year, we have seen just how important it is that everyone has access to quality, affordable health care whenever they need it. And closing the gap is vitally important not only to people without insurance, but to all of us,” said U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL-02). “Our public health depends on as many people having access to care as possible. Medicaid expansion has played a critical role in reducing racial disparities in access to care, and closing the coverage gap will help families get back on their feet after this pandemic and help to finally address the health disparities that persist in our country.”

“There is a stark situation in the states that have not expanded Medicaid, where income eligibility rules are incredibly stringent. In most of these states, if you’re a single mother with two children and you make $9,000 per year, you’re not eligible for Medicaid,” said Yvette Fontenot, Policy and Legislative Affairs Consultant for Protect Our Care. “These states have not been persuaded to change course in the face of generous federal financial incentives, evidence of the health benefits of Medicaid expansion, and the worst pandemic in a century. Waiting for them to act is no longer a viable option.” 

“Medicaid is a lifeline for millions of Americans, and its importance has never been more clear as it has reached record enrollment during the pandemic,” said Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach. “Despite the overwhelming benefits of Medicaid expansion, and even with the additional incentives included in the American Rescue Plan, Republicans have put politics over people by continuing to reject the program. Lawmakers must act quickly to provide relief to millions of people who have been locked out of coverage by adopting a federal solution to expand Medicaid in the American Families Plan.” 

BACKGROUND:

    • Six Million People Could Gain Coverage If Remaining Holdout States Expand Medicaid.  An estimated four million uninsured adults — including at least 2.4 million people of color, 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. In total, roughly 6 million people could enroll in Medicaid if the remaining states implemented expansion.
    • Medicaid Expansion Is Widely Popular. 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. 
    • Medicaid Expansion Results In Healthier Communities. Research confirms that Medicaid expansion increases access to care, improves financial security, leads to better health outcomes, and even saves lives. 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. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, more than 600 studies confirm the broad benefits of Medicaid expansion.