Six Months into Unwinding: History’s Deepest Medicaid Losses Demand State Action

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When Medicaid pandemic protections expired on April 1, 2023, states were allowed to redetermine eligibility and begin terminating families’ Medicaid for the first time since February 2020. Medicaid is America’s primary source of health care for low-income people, including children and families, low-wage workers, people with disabilities, and older adults.

During the first six months of this “unwinding,” more people have lost Medicaid than during any two-year period in American history. Communities of color are suffering disproportionate losses. And most people terminated from Medicaid may still be eligible. Their coverage is ending because of nothing more than missing paperwork, often resulting from needless red tape and bureaucracy.

Despite having years to prepare for unwinding, and despite abundant budget surpluses, some state leaders have not invested the resources needed for a Medicaid redetermination system good enough to trust with their own families’ health care. In many states, this underinvestment has turned a very difficult situation into a civil rights and health equity disaster. Major state Medicaid reforms to combat paperwork terminations are now essential to shield struggling families from further harm.

Contributing Organizations:

Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF), The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, NAACP, National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), National Council of Urban Indian Health (NCUIH), National Urban League, Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund, Coalition on Human Needs, and Protect Our Care.