Leading civil rights organizations call on Congress to act to prevent health equity disaster.
WASHINGTON – A coalition of leading civil rights organizations released a report urging Congress to take immediate action and prevent millions of families from losing health care coverage. Coalition group members include the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, the Coalition on Human Needs, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, NAACP, the National Urban League, and UnidosUS.
When the Biden Administration formally declares an end to the Public Health Emergency–which could happen early next year—Medicaid programs will be allowed to terminate beneficiaries’ coverage for the first time since February 2020. The report describes how Congressional inaction could lead to the largest Medicaid loss in American history, disproportionately harming people of color and causing a civil rights and equity crisis.
Based on reports from the Biden Administration, 15 million people are expected to lose Medicaid when the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency ends and states are no longer forbidden from terminating families’ Medicaid. That will be more than seven times the largest previous one-year drop in Medicaid coverage in American history, when the number covered by Medicaid fell by 2.0 million in 2018 and again in 2019. More than half of the 15 million people are expected to come from communities of color, including almost 5 million Latinos, more than 2 million African Americans, and nearly a million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. An estimated 5.3 million children will lose Medicaid, three-fourths of whom will remain eligible but be terminated for administrative reasons.
The report calls on Congress to reform Medicaid by cutting paperwork burdens that prevent eligible families from keeping their health care.
“During the pandemic, Medicaid has been a lifeline for over 90 million Americans, including nearly three million Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, providing coverage and access to health. Yet, many eligible families risk losing Medicaid coverage once eligibility redeterminations resume because of needless red tape and paperwork. Our organizations speak with one voice on this issue, and we urge Congress to adopt statutory changes that protect eligible families from losing Medicaid coverage,” said Juliet K. Choi, President & CEO of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum.
“We’ve achieved remarkable progress in recent years expanding health care coverage to those who need it most. Since 2020 alone, the number of uninsured has fallen by 5.2 million people and more people have their own health insurance than at any previous point in American history. Those hard-won gains could disappear and our progress could be erased if Congress fails to enact reforms that keep millions of eligible families from losing health care because of nothing more than missing paperwork,” said Sonia M. Pérez, Chief Operating Officer & Acting CEO at UnidosUS.
“When the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency ends next year, 15 million families are expected to lose Medicaid coverage. This is a cause for alarm,” said Marc H. Morial, President & CEO of the National Urban League. “As we look to recover from the pandemic, we cannot afford to go back to pre-pandemic inequities as usual. The reforms outlined in this report will help keep millions of eligible families from losing health care. We must remain vigilant and steadfast in our approach to ensure every American has proper healthcare coverage. We urge Members of Congress and the Biden Administration to reform the Medicaid statute and save eligible families before it’s too late.”
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The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) influences policy, mobilizes communities and strengthens programs and organizations to improve the health of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.
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UnidosUS is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that serves as the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization. Since 1968, we have challenged the social, economic, and political barriers that affect Latinos through our unique combination of expert research, advocacy, programs, and an Affiliate Network of nearly 300 community-based organizations across the United States and Puerto Rico. We believe in an America where economic, political, and social progress is a reality for all Latinos, and we collaborate across communities to achieve it.
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The National Urban League is a historic civil rights organization dedicated to economic empowerment in order to elevate the standard of living in historically underserved urban communities. The National Urban League spearheads the efforts of its 92 local affiliates through the development of programs, public policy research and advocacy, providing direct services that impact and improve the lives of more than 2 million people annually nationwide.
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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 230 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals.