Millions could lose Medicaid coverage as omicrons rise – if Biden doesn’t act

Unless the Biden administration extends its declaration of a public health emergency that will expire in just 9 days, millions of vulnerable people across the US — including many children — could soon be kicked out of Medicaid. in the context of a record increase in the number of Covid-19 cases.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, a relief package that Congress passed in March 2020, requires states to provide “continuous insurance“for people applying for Medicaid during a federally declared public health emergency (PHE), which has been renewed multiple times since the beginning of the pandemic.

With the US Covid-19 infection skyrocketed to record levels In recent days, it has become very clear that the public health crisis is far from over — but the PHE will nevertheless lapse on January 16, 2022. If the Department of Health and Human Services does not expand PHE again, experts and advocacy groups fear that could lead to mass Medicaid enrollment withdrawals.

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Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Healthcare Association: “With the Omicron variant causing the largest increase in Covid-19 cases nationally, now is not the time to be supportive. vital support and the flexibility needed to fight the end of the virus,” wrote Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Healthcare Association (AHCA), in a statement. letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra earlier this week.

“We strongly encourage you to continue to expand the PHE statement and maintain the related Section 1135 and Section 1812(f) waivers, Advanced Medicaid [assistance] states, and flexibility in state Medicaid policy, such as waiver of Medicaid decisions,” he added.

Dr. Adam Gaffney, a critical care physician at Cambridge Health Alliance, Discuss Fifth that “it was because of provisions like” the ongoing coverage requirement in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act that millions were able to keep their coverage during the pandemic.

“Make no mistake: kicking people out of Medicaid kills a lot of people,” Gaffney warns, pointing to research showing that Medicaid coverage has saved thousands of lives—And the refusal of Republican-led states to expand it has been fatal.

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In a recent analysis, the Urban Institute estimates that about 8.7 million adults and 5.9 million children could lose Medicaid coverage by 2022 if the Biden administration allows PHE to expire.

Sign up for Medicaid, yes soar to a record high during the pandemic, “is expected to return to normal within a year of the expiration of the PHE,” noted the Urban Institute.

“But continuing eligibility checks could cause 15 million people to withdraw in the first six months after the PHE expires,” the team warned.

While many disenrolled people may be eligible for other forms of coverage – such as the Children’s Health Insurance Program – if they are unable to return to Medicaid, advocates are concerned. the process can be chaotic due to administrative difficulties and other factors.

“In some cases, people who will be scrambling to assess their eligibility and potentially try to find new health care plans may be subject to states seeking to squeeze their finances. by forcefully removing people from the Medicaid program,” NBC News report last month. “Medicaid recipients can be disenrolled from the program for a seemingly minor violation like not updating their personal information — something they haven’t had to do as of March 2020 — or missing a letter in letter about their changing status.”

When the PHE expires, tens of millions of Medicaid recipients “will have their eligibility re-determined, posing a high risk of insurance loss that is almost certain to happen to Blacks and Latinos, people who have suffered significant harm and loss of function during the pandemic”, experts at the Commonwealth Fund explain in a recent blog post.

“When [continuous coverage] requirements end, most people will likely continue to qualify for Medicaid or marketplace coverage, but a large number of renewals will test the system,” they added. All levels of government, as well as the health sector and community partners, should help with planning to ensure that the end of the public health emergency does not push millions into the ranks of those who are not. have insurance and create even larger disparities in health. “–if-biden-doesnt-act_partner/ Millions could lose Medicaid coverage as omicrons rise – if Biden doesn’t act

Huynh Nguyen

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