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April 26, 2022

Congresswoman Bourdeaux, Senator Warnock Lead 31 Members In Urging Medicaid Expansion Be Included In Reconciliation Package

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Congresswoman Carolyn Bourdeaux (GA-07) and Senator Raphael Warnock led a diverse bicameral coalition in urging Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Minority Leaders Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy to include Medicaid expansion in any future reconciliation package. Expanding Medicaid and closing the coverage gap will help more than 600,000 Georgians and 4.4 million Americans access affordable health care. 

“Now is the time for action. We must finally fulfill the promise we made 12 years ago when we passed the ACA and ensure that all individuals and families, in all 50 states, have access to health care,” said the Members. “Medicaid expansion ensures low-income individuals have better access to preventative health services improving health outcomes and preventing premature deaths.” 

The lack of Medicaid expansion has predominantly harmed people in the South where state governments have failed to provide basic health coverage for their residents, with minorities and communities of color representing 60% of those in the coverage gap.

“We must acknowledge the importance of addressing the fiscal, social, and moral responsibility of expanding Medicaid,” said Congresswoman Carolyn Bourdeaux. “States like Georgia have left low-income Americans hung out to dry for far too long. As we begin planning out our next reconciliation package, it is critical we put expanding Medicaid at the forefront.”

In addition to providing health coverage for over 600,000 Georgians and 4.4 million Americans who are currently unable to access affordable care. Closing the Medicaid gap will drastically narrow the racial gaps in health access and deliver benefits to a broad and diverse low-income population.

An analysis of past coverage expansions for low-income families shows that expanding Medicaid saves lives, improves health, and supports local hospital systems that are jeopardized by uncompensated care costs.

Congresswoman Carolyn Bourdeaux (GA-07), and Senator Raphael Warnock (GA) were joined by Senator Jon Ossoff (GA), Senator Tammy Baldwin (WI), and Rep. Terri A. Sewell (AL-07), Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-AL), Rep. Al Lawson (FL-05), Rep. Darren Soto (FL-09), Rep. Val Demings (FL-10), Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (FL-20), Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24), Rep. Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02), Rep. Hank Johnson (GA-04), Rep. Nikema Williams (GA-05), Rep. Lucy McBath (GA-06), Rep. David Scott (GA-13), Rep. Sharice L. Davids (KS-03), Rep. Kathy Manning (NC-06), Rep. Alma S. Adams, Ph.D (NC-12), Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07), Rep. Al Green (TX-09), Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15), Rep. Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Rep. Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Rep. Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Rep. Colin Allred (TX-32), Rep. Marc Veasey (TX-33), Rep. Lloyd Doggett (TX-35), Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05), Rep. Steve Cohen (TN-09), and Rep. Ron Kind (WI-03).

Read the letter below. See the letter here.

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi                                      The Honorable Chuck Schumer 

Speaker of the House                                                  Majority Leader 

U.S. House of Representatives                                 United States Senate 

H-305, The U.S. Capitol                                             S-221, The U.S. Capitol 

Washington, DC 20515                                              Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy                                The Honorable Mitch McConnell 

Minority Leader                                                          Minority Leader 

U.S. House of Representatives                                 United States Senate

H-204, The U.S. Capitol                                             S-230, The U.S. Capitol

Washington, DC 20515                                              Washington, DC 20510

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

As discussions continue around a budget reconciliation package, we urge you to prioritize the inclusion of a permanent, comprehensive fix for the Medicaid coverage gap in non-expansion states.

Closing the Medicaid coverage gap is a moral imperative, and Congress must ensure that Americans of all backgrounds have access to quality, affordable health care. Despite significant financial incentives provided by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), there are still 12 non-expansion states that prioritize politics over people and continue to deny low-income Americans health care coverage. This has left 4.4 million low-income Americans unable to access to the free or affordable care that is available in 38 other states and DC.[1] Geography should not determine whether people in this country have access to affordable health insurance and therefore access to our health care system.

Americans in the Medicaid gap are unable to access the preventative and primary care crucial to staying healthy. They are more likely to wind up requiring and receiving care only when disease is already advanced, acute, or life-threatening. This results in preventable suffering, death, and tragedy, and the costs of care when it’s too late are inevitably born by the public. It is bad public health policy and it is bad fiscal policy. 

The choice not to expand Medicaid has a very real and human cost. It is estimated that between 2014 and 2017, 15,600 older adults died prematurely due to states’ decisions not to expand Medicaid. [2] Further, the Americans who are most harmed by this inaction from state leaders are people of color: 60 percent of people in the coverage gap are Black, Hispanic, Asian, or Pacific Islander.[3]

Medicaid expansion ensures low-income individuals have better access to preventative health services improving health outcomes and preventing premature deaths. Medicaid expansion also improves the economic mobility that would enable low-income individuals to work.[4]

Now is the time for action. We must finally fulfill the promise we made 12 years ago when we passed the ACA and ensure that all individuals and families, in all 50 states have access to health care. To that end, as a reconciliation package is being negotiated, we urge you to include provisions to close the Medicaid coverage gap and provide free and affordable health coverage to all those who would otherwise be eligible for this safety net program. 

Thank you for your attention to this matter. We look forward to working together to deliver health care for millions of Americans.

Sincerely,


[1] https://www.kff.org/medicaid/issue-brief/the-coverage-gap-uninsured-poor-adults-in-states-that-do-not-expand-medicaid/

[2] https://www.cbpp.org/research/health/medicaid-expansion-has-saved-at-least-19000-lives-new-research-finds

[3] https://www.cbpp.org/research/health/federal-action-needed-to-close-medicaid-coverage-gap-extend-coverage-to-22-million

[4] https://www.cbpp.org/research/health/chart-book-the-far-reaching-benefits-of-the-affordable-care-acts-medicaid-expansion

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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.