Civil Rights Leaders Launch ‘Hands off Our Healthcare’ Campaign with Release of Medicaid Coverage Scorecards
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On November 16, a coalition of the nation’s civil rights organizations held a press call announcing their Medicaid coverage scorecards. The press call was moderated by NCNW President and CEO, Rev. Shavon Arline-Bradley. The scorecards, based on research conducted by HIT strategies, revealed that more than 20 state governors have failed to ensure proper access to healthcare for the residents of their states. The coalition is urging state governors to implement ethical and efficient administrative practices to ensure state residents have equitable access to healthcare.
“The NAACP remains committed to addressing the disparities faced by millions of Black Americans in this disenrollment crisis,” said NAACP President and CEO, Derrick Johnson. “We call out our governors, nationwide, who are contributing to the exacerbation of health crises in our communities. Now more than ever it is imperative that these leaders work to close the healthcare gap by affirming that comprehensive healthcare is a human right and prioritizing equitable practices in Medicaid enrollment.”
NAN Founder and President, Reverend Al Sharpton said: “The last seven months have seen millions of Americans lose their Medicaid coverage — a bigger loss than any time in the program’s 58-year history. Black and Brown communities and their children will feel these cuts early, in greater numbers, and harsher than others. We call on states to halt procedural disenrollments, and for constituents to put pressure on their governors who have failed to keep them insured.”
“Medicaid redeterminations are proving to be perilous for communities of color, who are losing coverage because of missing paperwork and for other red tape reasons,” said Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League. “We call on states to pause these procedural terminations and protect their people from becoming uninsured.
Black women and children have, and will continue to experience alarmingly disproportionate rates of disenrollment. Disenrollment not only jeopardizes the well-being of countless women but also heightens the risks associated with childbirth, further exacerbating the Black maternal mortality crisis.
It is often said that history is the best determinant of outcomes. If we look at pre-pandemic data, history tells us that even the slightest interruption in insurance coverage threatens the quality of life of Medicaid recipients,” said Shavon Arline-Bradley, President and CEO of NCNW. “This scorecard is a necessary tool that puts the onus back on lawmakers in states where people are most likely to be terminated, to act with urgency to invest in their Medicaid eligibility infrastructure. It is imperative that ALL STATES act now to prevent our children, seniors and qualified individuals from experiencing healthcare short- or long-term insurance gaps.
“Let’s be clear: This is a crisis,” said Dr. Melicia Whitt-Glover, Executive Director of the Council on Black Health. “The rapid pace at which Black people and other communities of color are being disenrolled from Medicaid coverage is alarming. Governors have the opportunity to stop this travesty. They should do so immediately.”
The Medicaid coverage scorecards were released by leaders of the NAACP, Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum, UnidosUS, The National Council of Negro Women, National Urban League, National Council of Urban Indian Health, Southern Poverty Law Center The scorecards came following last week’s press call announcing the release of their joint report which detailed how America is in the midst of suffering an avoidable civil rights and health equity disaster following the end of pandemic-era Medicaid continuous eligibility requirements.
“Medicaid Unwinding is one of the biggest health issues our nation has had to reckon with this year, and health care is inherently intertwined with our civil and human rights,” said Juliet K. Choi, President & CEO of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF). “ We need leadership and urgency in all 50 states to ensure the health and well being of millions of hard working families and children.”
Leaders of the coalition believe governors and their state leadership should be held accountable for the protection they offer their residents. Communities of color bear the brunt of Medicaid coverage losses, with over 70% losing coverage due to procedural issues such as missing paperwork. Over the next few months, these respective organizations will work to engage state leadership and improve Medicaid programs throughout the nation.
Melanie L. Campbell, President and CEO, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and Convener, The Black Women’s Roundtable said:
“Black women, children and families are facing a healthcare crisis of unprecedented scale as states around the country transition from expanded Medicaid coverage provided by emergency federal government funding during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Though states knew this was coming, too many failed to prepare for a fair redetermination process and now families are losing their coverage, often for procedural reasons. This alarming trend is more than a failure of policy; it’s a clear signal that the healthcare needs of the most vulnerable are being systematically overlooked and leading to worsening conditions and widened health and wellness disparities. It’s as if we learned nothing from the pandemic. We call on state governors and legislators to strengthen their Medicaid systems, end procedural disenrollments and address the healthcare access crisis head-on by not overlooking the needs of millions of Black families and others. It’s time we turn the tide of inequity and ensure lasting equity in our healthcare systems.”
“We are witnessing the deepest and steepest losses in Medicaid insurance coverage in our nation’s history. Many have been dropped from Medicaid due to nothing more than missing paperwork and red tape. Communities of color — including 2.3 million Latinos — are bearing the brunt of those losses, making health care unaffordable for them and deepening already serious health inequities across the country,” said Eric Rodriguez, Senior Vice President, Policy and Advocacy at UnidosUS. “Most who have lost Medicaid health insurance may have still been eligible, and despite having the funds, state leaders did not invest the money needed to protect families from being unjustly dropped from the program.”
NCNW is an “organization of organizations,” comprised of 330 campus and community-based sections and 33 national women’s organizations that enlighten, inspire, and connect more than 2,000,000 women and men. Its mission is to lead, advocate for, and empower women of African descent, their families, and communities. It was founded in 1935 by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, an influential educator and activist.
ABOUT THE ORGANIZATIONS
- Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF)
- Council on Black Health (CBH):
- National Action Network (NAN)
- National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
- National Coalition on Black Civic Participation/Black Women’s Roundtable (NCBCP/BWR)
- National Council of Negro Women (NCNW)
- National Urban League (NUL)