Extension of Public Health Emergency Declaration Highlights Need for Permanent Medicaid Coverage
Washington, DC – This week, the Biden administration extended the U.S. coronavirus public health emergency for another 90 days, maintaining a range of health benefits received by some of the most vulnerable Americans during the pandemic, including a key provision that has allowed people covered by Medicaid to stay enrolled in the program.
This protection of Medicaid benefits during the pandemic has been a lifeline for millions of people, especially in states that haven’t expanded their own Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act. While the pandemic continues indefinitely, it is essential that working people see a permanent solution to ensure they do not lose their health coverage. For states that have refused to expand Medicaid coverage, citizen-led ballot measures have proven the most effective democratic tool to expand the program, especially in purple and red states. It is more important than ever that ballot measure proposals, such as the one in South Dakota, are passed to provide lasting Medicaid coverage once the federal public health emergency declaration expires. It is also critical that the ballot measure process continue to be protected from meddling by lawmakers who wish to undermine direct democracy.
In reaction to this, Fairness Project Executive Director Kelly Hall released the following statement:
“While the extension is a welcome announcement, temporary solutions that protect and expand Medicaid enrollment are inadequate. People need consistent, reliable health care, and leaning on executive action is unsustainable. As federal efforts to close the Medicaid coverage gap continue to stall in Congress, Medicaid expansion via citizen-led ballot measures continues to be the path forward to actually provide the predictable health care coverage people need.”
Fairness Project instrumentally supported all of the successful ballot measures to expand Medicaid since 2017: Idaho, Maine, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Utah. These six Medicaid Expansion victories are included in the organization’s impressive record of winning 23 of 24 ballot measure campaigns that support working people and their families.