Five hundred thousand people in Texas have lost healthcare coverage since June due to the state’s unwinding of the COVID-19 continuous Medicaid coverage protections. Unfortunately, 81% of individuals who lost coverage did so for procedural or paperwork reasons, not because individuals are no longer eligible. Because quality and affordable healthcare is critical to the 2.9 million Texas residents living with lung disease, the American Lung Association is calling on Governor Greg Abbott to pause Medicaid redeterminations to improve its process so fewer people lose access to healthcare.
“The rate of coverage losses for procedural issues – 81% – is truly alarming. People could lose their healthcare coverage and not even be aware of it until they visit their healthcare provider or go to pick up a prescription. Since thousands of people have already lost coverage, we are urging Governor Abbott to temporarily pause coverage terminations to evaluate the process so that no one else unnecessarily loses their healthcare,” said Charlie Gagen, director of advocacy for the American Lung Association in Texas.
In March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic began in the U.S., Congress passed legislation that prohibited states from dis-enrolling most individuals from Medicaid. As a result, more than 20 million people gained Medicaid coverage during the pandemic. Nationally, 93 million people – one in four – have coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. In December 2022, Congress passed legislation that starts to reverse some of the COVID-19 pandemic provisions, allowing Medicaid programs to restart renewals and coverage terminations.
To help people with lung disease understand this change and find new healthcare coverage, the American Lung Association has resources and information available at Lung.org/healthcare.