Amajor civil rights crisis is sneaking up on America. Many observers expect the Biden administration to end the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency in April or July 2023. Whenever that happens, Medicaid will begin terminating families’ health care for the first time since February 2020.
Disaster is likely to strike, as state Medicaid agencies struggle to reevaluate the eligibility of more than 82 million people. Federal researchers project that Medicaid will terminate 15 million people—seven times the largest previous annual loss of Medicaid coverage.
More than half of these 15 million people are expected to come from communities of color, including almost 5 million Latinos, more than 2 million African Americans, and nearly a million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). America’s already serious health inequities are about to become far more severe.
Many people who lose Medicaid cannot obtain the health care they need. Chronic conditions like cancer grow undetected until they are more costly to treat and more dangerous, often with grim consequences.