Reps. Robin Kelly, Yvette Clarke, Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Urge Leadership to Permanently Close Medicaid Coverage Gap
WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, Congresswoman Robin L. Kelly (D-IL), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust, Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D-CA), Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-NY), wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to once again urge that they close the Medicaid “coverage gap” with a permanent and comprehensive federal policy in the forthcoming economic recovery package. The Members first wrote to leadership with this request in June.
“Closing the Medicaid coverage gap is one of the single most important steps we can take to reduce racial health inequities across the United States, as 60 percent of the 2.2 million uninsured people who remain without a pathway to health coverage – despite the promise of the Affordable Care Act – are Black, Hispanic, Asian, or Pacific Islander,” wrote the Members. “Expansion has decreased racial disparities in coverage, affordability and health outcomes, most notably in maternal and infant mortality.”
According to a recent report by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, more than a third of all adults in the coverage gap are women of reproductive age, which could result in women being uninsured during the initial months of pregnancy and contribute to the maternal health crisis. Additionally, much of the affected population lives in the South where state governments have failed to provide basic health coverage for their residents.
People impacted by the coverage gap have been deprived of the wide-ranging benefits of Medicaid expansion, including the reduction of overall mortality associated with cancer, cardiovascular disease, and liver disease. The coronavirus pandemic has continued to illuminate the far-reaching, fatal consequences of inadequate access to healthcare. Addressing the Medicaid coverage gap is critical to correcting decades of unacceptable and unjust denials of health coverage to underserved people, especially people of color.
The forthcoming recovery package must include policies that permanently and comprehensively close the coverage gap to significantly reduce racial health disparities and ensure all Americans have access to basic healthcare.
Full text of the letter is available here.