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October 22, 2021

Congresswoman Bourdeaux Leads 37 Members In Calling for a Permanent, Comprehensive Solution to the Medicaid Coverage Gap

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Congresswoman Carolyn Bourdeaux (GA-07), joined by Reps. Suzan DelBene, Terri Sewell, and Kathy Manning led 34 colleagues in a letter to Congressional leadership urging them to prioritize including a permanent, comprehensive fix for the Medicaid coverage gap in the final reconciliation bill. 

In the letter, Members wrote, “We must finally fulfill the promise Congress made when it passed the Affordable Care Act and ensure that the poorest individuals and families in our nation have access to health care by closing the Medicaid coverage gap in the Build Back Better Act.”

Congresswoman Carolyn Bourdeaux said, “As conversations continue surrounding what will make the cut in our final budget reconciliation bill, we must acknowledge the importance of addressing the fiscal, social, and moral irresponsibility of not expanding Medicaid. States like Georgia have left low-income Americans hung out to dry for far too long.”

The Medicaid coverage gap currently leaves millions of Americans without health insurance, including over four million individuals in Georgia. 60% of those in the coverage gap are people of color. 

Rep. Suzan DelBene said, “Closing the Medicaid coverage gap is one way we can deliver immediate and lasting support to families and workers through the Build Back Better Act. As it stands, millions of Americans—disproportionately people of color—are excluded from Medicaid. It is time to provide a permanent fix to this problem and use this momentum to continue building on the Affordable Care Act.”  

“Improving access to quality, affordable health care continues to be one of my top priorities in Congress,” said Rep. Terri Sewell. “Because of the State of Alabama’s refusal to expand Medicaid, at least 300,000 low-income Alabamians who would otherwise qualify for health insurance coverage are being forced to go without care, putting their health and their lives at risk.”  

Rep. Kathy Manning said, “States like North Carolina, whose Republican-controlled legislature refuses to expand Medicaid, leave hardworking people who earn too little to afford health insurance with no health care coverage. This partisan failing impacts the health, safety, and finances of millions of Americans, including more than 500,000 people from North Carolina. It’s imperative that we include Medicaid expansion in the Build Back Better Act to close the coverage gap and finally extend health care coverage to millions of hardworking Americans.” 

Congresswoman Bourdeaux has consistently called attention to the urgent need to expand coverage in states like Georgia, and led the Medicaid Saves Lives Act in the House of Representatives.

 

Read the letter here.

 

October 22, 2021

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi

Speaker of the House

U.S. House of Representatives

H-232 U.S. Capitol

Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy

House Minority Leader

U.S. House of Representatives

H-204 U.S. Capitol

Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Charles Schumer

Senate Majority Leader

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Mitch McConnell

Senate Minority Leader

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510

 

Dear Majority Leader Schumer, Minority Leader McConnell, Speaker Pelosi, and Minority Leader McCarthy:

As you know, President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda is rooted in achieving equity for low-income and minority communities. The agenda includes a number of substantial changes which would advance these goals, and expanding access to health care is a critical component of building a more just and equitable society. Accordingly, as discussions continue around the budget reconciliation bill, we urge you to prioritize the inclusion of a permanent, comprehensive fix for the Medicaid coverage gap in non-expansion states.

We have consistently reiterated the moral imperative of closing the Medicaid coverage gap. Despite the substantial financial incentives to do so, Georgia and eleven other states refuse to expand Medicaid.[1] Importantly, the coverage gap disproportionately impacts Black and brown communities. Roughly 60% of those in the Medicaid coverage gap are people of color.[2]

Access to health care is one of the top indicators of health outcomes, and non-expansion states’ refusal to expand Medicaid has cost our constituents dearly. Studies repeatedly show that uninsured people are less likely to receive preventative care and services for chronic disease and major health conditions.[3] Delaying preventative services leads to an increased risk of diagnoses for late-stage cancer diagnosis or other serious diseases, and increases cost for both the patient and the health care system .[4][5] 

As a result, uninsured adults also face higher mortality rates compared to those with health insurance.[6] The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact for our nation’s overall health and economy. Over half a million people in the coverage gap were essential or front-line workers and many more are employed in other vital sectors such as transportation.[7] Medicaid expansion is also especially vital for rural hospitals, safety net hospitals, and community health centers, which open health access to vulnerable communities and communities of color. Since 2010, Georgia and South Carolina, both of which have not expanded Medicaid, had the most rural hospital closures in the nation.[8]

Earlier this year, Georgia’s Senators ran on a promise to close the coverage gap in non-expansion states and secured the Democratic majority in the Senate. We must finally fulfill the promise Congress made when it passed the Affordable Care Act and ensure that the poorest individuals and families in our nation have access to health care by closing the Medicaid coverage gap in the Build Back Better Act.

Thank you for your time and thoughtful consideration. I look forward to working together to deliver for the millions of Americans in the Medicaid coverage gap.

 

Sincerely,

 

Carolyn Bourdeaux

Member of Congress

[1] https://www.kff.org/medicaid/issue-brief/status-of-state-medicaid-expansion-decisions-interactive-map/

[2] https://www.cbpp.org/research/health/closing-medicaid-coverage-gap-would-help-diverse-group-and-narrow-racia

[3]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31291765/

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK220636/

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK220636/

[6] https://healtheconomicsreview.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13561-016-0137-z

[7] https://www.cbpp.org/research/health/closing-medicaid-coverage-gap-would-help-diverse-group-and-narrow-racial

[8] https://www.cbpp.org/research/health/closing-the-coverage-gap-a-critical-step-for-advancing-health-and-economic-justice

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Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux lives with her family in Suwanee, Georgia, and represents Georgia’s 7th Congressional District in the 117th Congress. Carolyn is a strong advocate for affordable health care, and economic recovery that puts workers and small businesses first, and investing in her district’s world-class public education system and transportation infrastructure. 

Georgia’s fast-changing 7th Congressional District includes portions of the northeast Atlanta metropolitan area, including portions of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties and cities Peachtree Corners, Berkeley Lake, Sugar Hill, Norcross, Cumming, Lawrenceville, Duluth, Snellville, Lilburn, Suwanee, Grayson, and Buford