Around 20million Americans stand to lose healthcare coverage this week as states begin unwinding pandemic-era protections for Medicaid beneficiaries.  

Starting this week and over the next 14 months as many as 20.6 million men, women, and children lose coverage for government-subsidized healthcare they have gained since February 2020.

Roughly one in six of the 84 million Americans on Medicaid stand to lose their coverage over the next 14 months. 

Pandemic-era legislation that was passed in response to the Covid pandemic guaranteed that enrollees in the government program would not be purged from the rolls even if they would otherwise be deemed ineligble for reasons such as increased income meaning they made too much money to qualify.  

Over the course of three pandemic years, enrollment in Medicaid and CHIP has swelled to 90.9 million, an increase of almost 20 million. As the pandemic has ebbed, millions of Americans are believed to have returned to work, boosting their income and thus making them ineligible for coverage. 

Roughly one in six of the 84 million Americans on Medicaid stand to lose their coverage over the next 14 months

Roughly one in six of the 84 million Americans on Medicaid stand to lose their coverage over the next 14 months

Roughly one in six of the 84 million Americans on Medicaid stand to lose their coverage over the next 14 months

Residents in Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, New Hampshire and South Dakota will be the first to feel the pain of redeterminations.

Healthcare in America is notoriously expensive with an estimated 79 million Americans struggling with medical debt. 

Despite this, several Republican members of Congress are toying with the prospect of drastically cutting funding for government healthcare.

States will unwind protections over the course of about 14 months. 

Medicaid is the federal government’s health insurance program serving the very poor and the disabled. 

It is jointly funded by federal and state governments, meaning the latter guarantees funds to match the state’s expenditures on the program.

When it became clear to government officials in March 2020 that Covid outbreaks across the world were foreshadowing a global pandemic that would put the US in a stranglehold, they reasoned that it would be a very bad time for Americans to lack access to healthcare.

On March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act was signed into law.

This legislation provided incentives to states to institute a ‘continuous enrollment’ guarantee that officials would not terminate enrollment for people considered not ‘validly enrolled’ or change eligibility groups while still receiving the boosted increased federal matching funds.

A major reason someone may be deemed ineligible is that their income increased beyond the threshold that is allowed for Medicaid coverage. 

The program is meant for people who meet certain income guidelines, which are adjusted each year based on poverty levels.

In subsequent legislation, the federal government increased the amount of funding it would make available to states that have expanded access to Medicaid benefits to nearly all adults with incomes up to 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level ($20,120 for an individual in 2023), an offering by Obamacare. It was meant to discourage those states from dropping enrollees.

Medicaid equips people with the ability to access preventative healthcare services such as mammograms immunizations, and screenings for common chronic and infectious diseases. 

This allows the healthcare system to save money in the long-run.

Losing health coverage can be devastating not just to a person’s health, but also to their financial wellbeing.

People could be dropped from the Medicaid rolls for a variety of reasons, such as administrative and paperwork issues or increases in income that meant they made too much money to qualify for benefits.

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