The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion The complexity of Medicaid after a pandemic

(Susan Walsh/Associated Press)

The March 15 front-page article “Millions at risk of losing Medicaid after crisis lifts” was extremely informative — and never should have had to have been written.

The United States, the richest country in the world, is the only industrialized country that does not guarantee health care to all of its people. Instead, the article indicated that up to 16 million low-income Americans, including possibly 6.7 million children, face the prospect of falling off Medicaid when this country’s public health emergency ends.

We must do better. Improved Medicare-for-all would ensure that all residents of the United States from birth to death would be covered for all medically necessary services regardless of employment status, income or preexisting conditions. Most premiums, co-payments and deductibles would disappear. Physicians for a National Health Program states that 95 percent of all households would save money. And people would still be able to choose their doctors and hospitals.

I look forward to the day when an article announces that every American has health-care coverage.

Richard Bruning, Baltimore

The writer is a co-founder of Healthcare-Now! of Maryland.

The March 15 article “Millions at risk of losing Medicaid after crisis lifts” admirably described the challenges facing individuals, families and states as we wait for the public health emergency to formally end. A vast network of committed partners is working together to make “unwinding” go as smoothly as possible. This ongoing partnership will help minimize the impact to 84 million people currently relying on Medicaid to access health care.

Medicaid agencies have been working closely with advocates, plans, providers, insurance marketplaces and community organizations regarding what to expect and how to help consumers. They know that when eligible members lose coverage, it is a hardship for the person losing coverage as well as caregivers.

States meet regularly with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to plan how unwinding will happen. Directors have asked Congress to gradually ratchet down the enhanced federal funds made available during the pandemic as states unwind, recognizing the costs of redeterminations.

In short, unwinding is and will continue to be a team effort. The challenge is indeed massive, and, yes, some people will lose coverage, but Medicaid agencies are working tirelessly with partners to lead through this effort and connect people to health insurance coverage so the program — and the millions of people it serves — come out stronger on the other side.

Dianne Hasselman, Washington

The writer is the deputy executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors.

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