As the COVID-19 crisis worsens, it is especially vital that all Americans have health insurance coverage to access testing and treatment. Yet many working Americans are rapidly losing their jobs and their job-based insurance.
In the states that have not expanded Medicaid, people who lose their job-based health insurance typically have no good options for staying covered. Without Medicaid, uninsured families have no way to pay for care during this public health crisis and risk bankruptcy with a trip to the emergency room. They are forced to make an impossible choice: Avoid necessary care due to the cost, or risk financial ruin to keep themselves and their communities healthy.
Medicaid expansion ensures access to health care, financial stability for families, and support to medical and public health infrastructure during this crisis. State policymakers must act immediately to expand Medicaid, and they have the option to undo Medicaid expansion after the public health emergency ends. But if they don’t expand now, the millions of people losing job-based coverage, the medical community, and all of us who are trying to protect our health are at risk.