The following was submitted by Katie Baker of the Protect Our Care organization.
April marks the 5th annual Medicaid Awareness Month. Medicaid is an essential pillar of coverage for women and children. Adult women comprise an estimated 40 percent of those enrolled in Medicaid, and over half (54 percent) of children are enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Women of color who experience higher rates of poverty than white women and remain less likely to have access to quality care. For pregnant women, affordable health coverage is essential more than ever as the United States continues to experience the highest rates of maternal mortality among wealthy nations, deaths that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data show are largely preventable.
Over 66 percent of Americans, including 55 percent of Republicans, have a favorable opinion of Medicaid. Voters agree that it is important to prevent harmful cuts to Medicaid that would reduce health care access for lower-income individuals and cut nursing home care funding. Even with the overwhelming support for Medicaid, Republicans across the country have made it their mission to slash its budget by billions. One budget plan offered by an influential former member of the Trump administration would cut over $2 trillion from Medicaid, ending Medicaid expansion entirely and kicking over 21 million Americans off of their health care plans.
By The Numbers
Medicaid Covers Over 30 Million Women Nationwide. 31 million adult women rely on Medicaid for coverage – an estimated 40 percent of the adults enrolled in Medicaid. In 2020, Medicaid covered 16 percent of nonelderly women in the United States.
Most Women On Medicaid Are Working Or Have Caretaking Responsibilities. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the vast majority of women enrolled in Medicaid work, including mothers on Medicaid. In 2019, 93 percent of women enrolled in Medicaid were either working, going to school, at home caring for young children or relatives, or experiencing an illness or disability that does not permit them to work.
Medicaid Is A Major Source Of Coverage For Women Of Color. Due to systemic inequality, women of color are disproportionately likely to be covered by Medicaid. Nearly 33 percent of Black Americans, 30 percent of Hispanic or Latino individuals, nearly 15 percent of Asian and Pacific Islanders, and 34 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native individuals are enrolled in Medicaid, compared with 15 percent of white individuals.
Medicaid Covers Nearly Half Of Women With Disabilities. Medicaid covers more than 44 percent of nonelderly women with mental and physical disabilities. As of 2019, Medicaid was the source of health coverage for one in four American women with mental illness and 7.2 million American women with a substance use disorder.
Over 50 Percent Of American Children Are Enrolled In Medicaid And CHIP. Over 40 million children in the United States are enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP.
More Than 2 Million People Would Gain Coverage If Remaining States Expanded Medicaid. Estimates from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that roughly 2 million people, including children, would enroll in Medicaid and CHIP if the remaining 10 states implemented expansion. These states are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wyoming, and Wisconsin.
The Children’s Uninsured Rate In Medicaid Holdout States Is Double The Rate In Expansion States. In 2021, the child uninsured rate was 7.1 percent in holdout states, compared to 4 percent in states that adopted expansion.
Almost Half Of Births Are Covered By Medicaid. Medicaid covers over 40 percent of births in the United States. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, states were given the option to extend coverage to new mothers for one year postpartum, which improves maternal health outcomes. Congress subsequently made this option permanent as part of end-of-year legislation signed into law at the end of 2022. So far, 29 states have elected to extend postpartum coverage.
Medicaid Coverage Benefits Mothers And Women Of All Ages
Medicaid Is The Largest Payer Of Reproductive Health Care Coverage. Medicaid covers nearly 20,000,000 women of reproductive age, giving them access to reproductive health care services such as birth control, cancer screenings, and maternity care without cost-sharing. Medicaid for children also saves the government an estimated $200 billion when compared to the average cost of the program at $92 billion. These services are even more imperative now due to Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision that overturned Roe v. Wade protections. Medicaid’s reproductive health coverage is especially important in states that have more restricted access to birth control and abortion.
Expanding Access To Care At Every Stage. There is an urgent need for quality, affordable health coverage prior to, during, and after giving birth. While 48 percent of maternal deaths occur during pregnancy and delivery, more than half, 52 percent, occur in the year following the birth of a child. Recent CDC data show that 4 in 5 of maternal deaths are preventable. 12 percent of maternal deaths are deemed “late,” occurring between six weeks and one year following delivery, demonstrating the immense need for continuous health access and coverage for a minimum of one year following the birth of a child. The Biden-Harris Administration has established a pathway to coverage, providing states the opportunity to extend postpartum coverage under Medicaid from 60 days to 12 months following birth. Currently, 29 states have begun offering continuous Medicaid or CHIP coverage for 12 months after pregnancy.
More Than Four In 10 Births Are Covered By Medicaid.