Nearly 80 Million Rely on Medicaid, CHIP During Pandemic

By Consumers For Quality Care, on July 7, 2021

Nearly 80 Million Rely on Medicaid, CHIP During Pandemic

According to data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), enrollment in Medicaid and CHIP, two federal programs offering health insurance to vulnerable populations, dramatically increased over the course of the pandemic.

Between February 2020 and January 2021, enrollment in the programs increased 13.9 percent, or 9.9 million people. A total of more than 80 million people, half of whom are children, now rely on these crucial federal programs as a lifeline to the care they need.

CMS attributed the sharp increase in enrollment numbers to the overall impact of the pandemic and enactment of additional federal funding to ensure these communities stay covered by health insurance.

The loss of employment, income and health insurance associated with the pandemic continues to greatly exacerbate existing health care cost challenges for all Americans. While many of the flexibilities and funding streams authorized by Congress will continue through the end of the year, it is critical to ensure vulnerable communities continue to have access to the health coverage and services they need.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra said, “This report reminds us what a critical program and rock Medicaid continues to be in giving tens of millions of children and adults access to care. This pandemic taught us that … we must work to strengthen Medicaid and make it available, whenever and wherever it’s needed, using the unprecedented investments Congress provided.”

CQC urges lawmakers to implement reforms to greatly reduce the financial burden associated with health care for all Americans.