WASHINGTON — Today marks the official end to the national COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, formally ending many COVID-19 era policies that expanded eligibility and streamlined access to food stamps, Medicaid coverage, free at-home testing and other services. Health Care for America Now Executive Director Margarida Jorge released the following statement:
Millions of people continue to pay more for their groceries, housing and healthcare than before the pandemic. Many will lose Medicaid coverage as the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency comes to an end, yet Republicans are proposing to cut Medicaid funding and create more hurdles to access coverage. Most Medicaid enrollees already work, but the Republican proposal would increase work requirements and the paperwork associated with them for an estimated 15 million people, ultimately leading to 1.7 million Americans losing coverage by 2024. In this moment of transition, our elected officials should be working to lower costs and ensure Americans can retain coverage, not cutting healthcare while at the same time proposing more tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations.
The majority of Medicaid recipients work in low wage jobs that do not offer coverage and many work multiple jobs just to make ends meet. Rather than imposing ineffective policies that will do nothing to increase the employment rate of Medicaid enrollees while increasing costs for states, Congress should focus on making it easier to access affordable healthcare, lower the cost of prescription drugs and actually reduce the national deficit by finally ending the Trump tax cuts that primarily benefited wealthy households. It’s time for the billionaires and large corporations to start paying their fair share of taxes like everyone else.
The truth is that big tax breaks for the rich and corporations are major contributors to the national debt and for decades have drained money from the economy that we need for investment in healthcare, public safety, education, and other basic services. Lawmakers can address the current default crisis, protect and expand access to affordable healthcare and lower costs on food, housing and prescriptions with common sense policies that cut corporate price gouging in healthcare and require the rich and corporations to pay more in taxes. I urge Congress to instead support the Biden Administration’s plan which would extend Medicare’s solvency for over two decades, protect Social Security, lower drug prices for millions more people and reduce the federal deficit without raising taxes on everyday Americans.