11.8 Million Lose Medicaid; States Could Lose Federal Funding

By Eve Marcum-Atkinson, WV CAG’s Director of Healthcare Advocacy

       Over the summer, we spoke with hundreds of West Virginians about healthcare, and the most common thing I heard was people’s fear of losing their Medicaid. That fear was well founded.

       One of the ways we connect with the public is by being at events, hosting an informational booth, and just walking around and talking to people. At these events and through healthcare story interviews, so many people shared how Medicaid had changed their lives for the better. They were able to stay in recovery. They were able to get an important surgery. They were able to get the medication and care they needed in order to live, function, and work a job. 

       But people started falling off of Medicaid during the Unwind this year, where the state was required to redetermine eligibility. Since April, out of the roughly 656,000 previously on Medicaid, only about 190,000 have had their coverage renewed. Over 136,000 West Virginians have lost their Medicaid coverage; 29% of them are children.

Nationally, 11.8 Million have been disenrolled from Medicaid; 38% of them are children.


[Medicaid Enrollment and Unwinding Tracker], (KFF, Dec 07, 2023) [https://www.kff.org/report-section/medicaid-enrollment-and-unwinding-tracker-overview/] (Dec 12, 2023).


       Why have so many lost their Medicaid? According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, mostly because of paperwork. Of all who were disenrolled, 71% were terminated for procedural reasons (https://www.kff.org/report-section/medicaid-enrollment-and-unwinding-tracker-overview/). 

       Businesses are still having trouble filling open positions. But, because of the unwinding, over 6.8 Million working age people are now without healthcare, unable to get the treatments, support and medications that allowed them to function and work in the first place. And without care, people will get sicker, and some will die.

       And school age children are still recovering from the educational and psychological impacts of the pandemic, let alone the long term impacts of surviving mass shooting events. But now, over 4 Million are without healthcare. Given that the third leading cause of death for children ages 14-18 is suicide, this lack of care can only lead to tragedy.

       Now, states like West Virginia could lose federal funding if they don’t comply with the CMS Medicaid Unwinding interim final rule published Monday, December 4th. In it, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services outlined its plans to get Medicaid redetermination disenrollments under control. As they review their benefit rolls for ineligible enrollees, states that fail to comply with federal Medicaid policies risk reduced federal funding under the regulation.

       Please contact your legislators and congress members. Please tell them to protect West Virginia’s federal funding and our Medicaid, fix the procedural issues, and get people the care they need. Healthcare means healthier kids, healthier families, working families.

Updated: January 16, 2024 — 3:08 pm
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