WASHINGTON, DC | July 28, 2023
Today, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released its first monthly data report about the unwinding of the Medicaid continuous coverage requirements put in place at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. 35 patient advocacy organizations released the following statement, urging the Biden administration to take immediate steps to protect patients’ Medicaid coverage:
“Our organizations appreciate the administration’s release of its first monthly Medicaid unwinding data report today. However, meaningful actions are urgently needed to address the unprecedented coverage losses we have seen over the past few months.
“Our organizations are extremely alarmed that nearly 3.8 million people have lost Medicaid coverage over the past few months, likely a significant underestimate given the limited data available.
Equally concerning is that the vast majority of people have lost coverage because of administrative issues. Based on the data that the Kaiser Family Foundation has collected, 73% of all people disenrolled had their coverage terminated for procedural reasons. These failures in the administrative process suggest serious problems in many states with notices and renewal forms getting to enrollees, inadequate public education campaigns, insufficient consumer support for individuals trying to renew their coverage and other challenges.
“Greater transparency and additional enforcement actions are needed to protect our patients’ access to care in the Medicaid program. Specifically, our organizations call on the administration to:
- Release monthly data reports more quickly. States report information to CMS on the 8th of each month and CMS should release data no more than 30 days after that. The information released today is from April and therefore includes only 18 states. Many of our organizations have previously urged CMS to post data within 30 days so that timely action could be taken.
- Release detailed information about enforcement actions. While CMS released a fact sheet on its monitoring and oversight of states on July 18, stakeholders need to know which states have violated federal requirements and how those violations have been addressed to best support people navigating this process and hold states accountable.
- Fully utilize the Secretary of Health and Human Services’ enforcement authority as passed by Congress in December. The Secretary must require corrective action plans for states that do not meet federal requirements and suspend terminations for procedural reasons and impose civil monetary penalties if those actions plans are not submitted or implemented. While this process takes some time, that means it is even more important to start it as soon as possible.
“This administration has made significant progress in increasing access to quality and affordable healthcare coverage over the past three years and unless significant action is taken, the unwinding process will undermine that progress. We urge the administration to improve the transparency of this process and take immediate action to protect healthcare coverage for millions of Americans.”
- ALS Association
- American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
- American Heart Association
- American Kidney Fund
- American Lung Association
- Arthritis Foundation
- Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
- Cancer Support Community
- Child Neurology Foundation
- Chronic Disease Coalition
- Crohn's & Colitis Foundation
- Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
- Epilepsy Foundation
- Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research
- Hemophilia Federation of America
- Immune Deficiency Foundation
- Lutheran Services in America
- Lupus Foundation of America
- March of Dimes
- Muscular Dystrophy Association
- National Alliance on Mental Illness
- National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship
- National Eczema Association
- National Health Council
- National Hemophilia Foundation
- National Kidney Foundation
- National Multiple Sclerosis Society
- National Organization for Rare Disorders
- National Patient Advocate Foundation
- National Psoriasis Foundation
- Pulmonary Hypertension Association
- Susan G. Komen
- The AIDS Institute
- The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, which has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and is a Platinum-Level GuideStar Member, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org. To support the work of the American Lung Association, find a local event at Lung.org/events.