WASHINGTON – In response to President Biden’s announcement that the COVID-19 public health emergencies will end on May 11, which could leave more than 14 million Medicaid enrollees without insurance, Health Care for America Now Executive Director Margarida Jorge released the following statement:
Over the past three years, the public health emergency declaration has helped more Americans access care when they needed it most, including the COVID-19 vaccine and boosters, which have been critical tools in fighting the spread of the virus and making it less lethal. While COVID-19 remained one of the leading causes of death in 2022, we are entering a new phase of the pandemic where we can responsibly end the public health emergency without creating new and immediate threats to millions of Americans. That’s preferable to the GOP’s reckless proposals to strip millions of access to affordable care without a backup plan or any consideration of the health and economic consequences.
The public health emergency measures implemented by Congress and the Biden Administration over the last three years saved lives, shielded millions from illness harm and prevented economic devastation in many households as well as the larger economy. Now, as we are well on the road to recovery as a nation, we can phase out key provisions while giving states the time they need to make backup plans and anticipate the consequences of eliminating services people have come to depend on.
The end of the public health emergencies will bring new challenges for everyday Americans who have benefited from expanded health coverage, waived costs for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, and vital telehealth services. More than 14 million Medicaid enrollees may lose coverage as prices for vital treatments shoot up. Come May 11, the cost of COVID-19 vaccines could quadruple to as much as $130, and many people will be forced to pay out of pocket to stay protected from the virus. The need for Medicaid expansion in every state and prescription drug price reform is more urgent than ever. Now is the time for our leaders to act to avoid further strains on our healthcare system and to keep our country healthy.