Millions of people are facing a potential end to Medicaid coverage as the special COVID eligibility policy comes to an end
· Mar 26, 2023 ·

The COVID crisis brought about a considerable amount of economic, political and social fallout.

A great deal of it — maybe most of it — was of our own making.

Case in point:

Health officials are bracing for chaos as states begin to determine — for the first time in three years — who is eligible for Medicaid, as a key pandemic policy of guaranteed eligibility ends.

Advocates warn that without a safety net, millions of vulnerable people will fall through the cracks and lose coverage.

Well, gee, you think? Maybe this was kind of the predictable result of, you know, cramming public insurance rolls to the breaking point because of a virus with a survival rate well north of 99%.

Policymakers saw this as an opportunity to expand the ranks of government dependency. Give them credit, they seized the chance very aptly:

[A]t the start of the pandemic, the federal government required Medicaid programs to keep people continuously enrolled until the end of the public health emergency, in exchange for higher federal funding.

So if you were enrolled in Medicaid in March 2020, or if you became eligible at any point during the pandemic, you have remained eligible the entire time no matter what. As a result, the uninsured rate dropped and Medicaid enrollment soared past 90 million people, according to federal data.

A brilliant plan. The looming end of the new coverage rules will surely generate a huge amount of political chaos.

And just before an election year, no less! Can you imagine a better platform for Democrats to run on than, "Hey, those mean old Republicans let your Medicaid expire, they're the reason you're suffering, vote for us?" Heck, the campaign copy writes itself:

"If you're not an expansion state, huge losses are inevitable. Anybody who's earning poverty level wages is going to lose the Medicaid coverage and is not going to be eligible for the exchange coverage, and will be working for an employer that is extremely unlikely to be giving them workplace benefits that they can afford to buy," Rosenbaum said.

Brace yourself. The 2024 race is going to be nuts in ways we can't even imagine.


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