July 21, 2021 

Contact: Kathy Melley, (617) 791-0708 

(BOSTON, MA) — Today, Representative Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-GA) released a bill that would close the Medicaid coverage gap and ensure over 2.2 million uninsured people in 12 states can access health coverage. The bill, a companion to one released last week by Senators Rev. Warnock, Ossoff and Baldwin, would create a federal direct coverage option to people with incomes at or below 138 percent Federal Poverty Level in the 12 states where state leaders continue to deny Medicaid expansion, harming people’s health and financial security. Just yesterday, new research was released showing that in states that did not expand Medicaid, people owed an average of $375 more in medical debt than those in states with Medicaid expansion. The Medicaid Saves Lives Act comes as part of an increasing drumbeat to close the Medicaid gap at the federal level, including the introduction of the same bill last week in the Senate.   

Statement of Emily Stewart, executive director of Community Catalyst, in response to Representative Bourdeaux’s bill to close the Medicaid coverage gap. 

“It’s unconscionable that a person making $16,000 and living in Alabama has no access to affordable health coverage, but if they moved to Oklahoma, they would be eligible for Medicaid coverage. Having access to life-saving health care shouldn’t depend on which state you live in, and right now 2.2 million people live in states where they have no realistic access to health care because they are denied affordable health insurance coverage. Because of systemic racism and discriminatory barriers to economic security, 60 percent of people in the Medicaid coverage gap are Black and brown people. This is an essential issue of equity, and we applaud Rep. Bourdeaux for her leadership in putting forward a federal policy that would guarantee people health coverage in states that continue to deny it to millions of people.” 


About Community Catalyst: Community Catalyst is a leading non-profit national health advocacy organization dedicated to advancing a movement for health equity and justice. We partner with local, state and national advocates to leverage and build power so all people can influence decisions that affect their health. Health systems will not be accountable to people without a fully engaged and organized community voice. That’s why we work every day to ensure people’s interests are represented wherever important decisions about health and health care are made: in communities, state houses and on Capitol Hill. For more information, visit Follow us on Twitter @CommCatHealth.