Medicaid is a state and federal health coverage program for children, adults with low-incomes, people with disabilities and people over the age of 65. The program is a vital source of health coverage for more than 80 million people, particularly those from systemically excluded communities, low-income communities, or who have intersecting needs and significant disabilities.

Medicaid covers hospital, physician, laboratory, and home health services, as well as comprehensive health care for children and adolescents. Under Medicaid, individual states can also choose to provide other long-term services and supports as well as benefits like prescription drugs and adult dental care. States have broad flexibility in how they administer the program—which creates variability in who and what is covered across state Medicaid programs. Given this, Community Catalyst partners with state and local organizations to build power to ensure that Medicaid programs are not discriminatory and that they address long-standing health inequities that disproportionately affect systemically excluded communities.

We also work with community partners and people who use Medicaid across the country to illustrate the value of the program, and also make the program more responsive to the people and communities it serves. Together, we drive policy change that is designed to ensure better coverage for a range of important services including abortion, maternity, dental, and substance use disorder care.

At the same time, we collaborate with national partners and community-based organizations to create campaigns that push for Medicaid expansion in the 10 states that have refused to expand eligibility.

What’s happening now

At the start of the pandemic, Congress enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which included a requirement that Medicaid programs keep people continuously enrolled through the end of the month in which the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) ends, in exchange for enhanced federal funding. Primarily due to the continuous enrollment requirement, Medicaid enrollment has grown substantially compared to before the pandemic and the uninsured rate has dropped. However, Congress recently passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022, which enables states to redetermine eligibility for Medicaid and CHIP enrollees in April 2023, regardless of the PHE status. As a result, as many as 18 million people may lose their medical coverage.