July 12, 2021 

Contact: Lucy Dagneau, (860) 966-2845 

(BOSTON, MA) — Today, Senator Rev. Raphael Warnock of Georgia 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 would create a federally-backed direct coverage option that would provide the same robust benefits of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to people with incomes at or below 138 percent Federal Poverty Level (FPL) in  states that continue to deny Medicaid expansion under the ACA. It would also add Medicaid expansion incentives to the American Rescue Plan Act by giving non-expansion states a 10 percent FMAP (federal medical assistance percentage) increase for 10 years if they expand Medicaid.  Because of systemic racism and discriminatory barriers to financial security, 60 percent of people in the Medicaid coverage gap are Black and brown people. In late June, more than 200 organizations from the 12 non-expansion states called on President Biden and Congressional leaders to support a federal solution to provide coverage to the people caught in the Medicaid coverage gap. The sign-on letter was authored and organized by Southerners for Medicaid Expansion, a regional coalition that includes Community Catalyst state partners. 

Statement of Emily Stewart, executive director of Community Catalyst, in response to Senator Warnock’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 coverageHaving 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 peopleThis is an essential issue of equity, and we applaud Senator Rev. Warnock for his 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.