WASHINGTON, D.C., 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. The nation’s leading 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 health care 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 health care coverage for millions of patients.”
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
American Heart Association
American Kidney Fund
American Lung Association
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
Cancer Support Community
Child Neurology Foundation
Chronic Disease Coalition
Crohn's & Colitis Foundation
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research
Hemophilia Federation of America
Immune Deficiency Foundation
Lupus Foundation of America
Lutheran Services in 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
For Media Inquiries: Arielle Beer: 202-785-7902; firstname.lastname@example.org
For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721) heart.org and stroke.org