4 Million People Lost Medicaid In 3 Months, Will Reach 15 Million Before The Election — How Is This Affecting Biden's Presidential Bid?

Zinger Key Points
  • People disenrolled from Medicaid are expected to reach north of 15 million in the following months.
  • Losing Medicaid coverage has been associated with negative electoral consequences in the past.

Millions of Americans are being kicked off of Medicaid, in a move that could impact the success of the Democratic party in the upcoming presidential election.

In the last three months, almost 4 million Americans lost their Medicaid coverage as the program's continuous enrollment provisions came to an end with the official culmination of the COVID-19 national emergency.

Up until April 1, 2023, states were banned from disenrolling patients from the Medicaid program, as a measure taken by the federal government to maintain high levels of healthcare coverage at the peak of the pandemic. This provision came in exchange for enhanced federal funding, according to KFF.

The measure of continuous enrollment incentivized more people to join the program, leading to historically high levels of an insured population. Enrollment in Medicaid grew by 23.3 million to nearly 95 million throughout the duration of the pandemic, from February 2020 to the end of March 2023.

The number of people being removed from Medicaid is expected to continue growing. Approximately 15 million people are expected to lose access to the program after dropping the continuous enrollment provisions, according to an official report by the Assistant Secretary of Planning and Evaluation.

A separate analysis by KFF puts that number at between 8 and 24 million people in the 12-month period following the policy roll-back.

Disenrollment data is incomplete, as only 42 states and the District of Columbia are currently reporting on the subject. In the states that do report, an added 38% of people with a completed renewal were taken off the program. 

Most of the people disenrolled (75%) had their coverage revoked because they did not complete their renewal forms, which is blamed on a lack of clear public messaging from the states, reported KFF.

Texas and Florida are the states with the highest numbers of people disenrolled, reaching 501,000 and 408,000, respectively. They're followed by California, Arkansas, Ohio and Arizona, all of which surpassed 200,000 disenrollments.

The Disenrollments Could Impact The 2024 Election

Strong healthcare readings are one of the key elements in Joe Biden's argument for reelection. The president and the Democrat party take pride in the measures taken to expand access to affordable healthcare coverage for low-income residents.

"The rate of Americans without health insurance is at an all-time low," said Biden in a speech last month.

"Premiums for coverage under the Affordable Care Act are $800 less per person than before I took office. And that's Bidenomics," he said.

Losing Medicaid coverage has been linked in the past to reduced voter turnout, according to Jamila Michener, co-director of the Cornell Center for Health Equity.

The academic, who focuses on studying the impacts of the Medicaid program, told Politico that "in places where the unwinding has been associated with disenrollment and with the negative experiences with Medicaid, we are more likely to see that translated into negative electoral consequences." 

Expanding healthcare access to low-income individuals has been a Democrat effort for the most part, which is why GOP politicians have been notoriously silent on the subject, according to a recent report by The Hill.

Part of the reasoning is that healthcare is not an issue that matters in the agenda of primary GOP voters, so Republican politicians have nothing to gain from discussing the issue at this point in the campaign.

For Democrats, whose nomination of Biden for the presidential election is more universally accepted than the GOP's fragmented front, losing wins in the healthcare front could mean a loss of potential voters.

While so far the most affected populations losing Medicaid are located in historically red states, such as Texas and Florida, the disenrollments are being pushed by bipartisan state administrations, which include California, New York and Washington state among the top 10 states rolling back on Medicaid members.

Market Impact: 

  • Shares of UnitedHealth Group Inc UNH, one of the country's largest insurers, is down 0.2% on Wednesday but up over 9% in the past month.
  • Competitor Elevance Health Inc ELV, previously known as Anthem, is flat on Wednesday at the time of writing but is adding over 7% in gains in the past month.
  • CVS Health CVS, which makes one-quarter of its revenues from healthcare subsidiary Aetna, is up 1.4% on Wednesday and more than 8% in the month.
  • iShares U.S. Healthcare Providers ETF IHF, which provides coverage of the healthcare industry, is down 0.3% on Wednesday but up 3.5% monthly.

Photo: Shutterstock

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Posted In: GovernmentNewsRegulationsHealth CarePoliticsEconomicsMarketsGeneral2024 election2024 Presidential ElectionJoe BidenMedicaid
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