As many as 30 million of the poorest Americans could be excluded from Medicaid, the government health care program for the poor and disabled, largely because of errors in state numbers. Poverty experts say the government in Washington is not doing enough to prevent it.
States are conducting a broad reassessment of the 94 million people enrolled in Medicaid, which also serves millions of people in nursing homes. A wave of different problems has emerged across the country, including phone wait times in Florida, confusing official forms in Arkansas, and children wrongly excluded from coverage in Texas.
Attorney Trevor Hawkins has helped hundreds of people navigate difficult Medicaid procedures in Arkansas, as state officials scramble to “quickly disenroll” about 420,000 people in six month. He criticized problems with the process in Arkansas, such as forms that incorrectly tell beneficiaries they must reapply for benefits from the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) instead of anew. just listen to it. Medicare is the medical assistance program for the elderly.
Nothing has changed, he said.
“They asked, but they didn’t tell us what happened,” Hawkins said of CMS. “These should be red flags. If there’s ever a situation where CMS should intervene, it’s Arkansas.
A dozen activists across the country detailed the problems they encountered helping the 10 million people disenrolled in Medicaid. Others argue that systemic problems are being overlooked.
Last year, Congress repealed a measure that prohibited states from excluding people from Medicaid during the pandemic and required them to reassess the status of each enrollee the following year. But the Democratic-controlled Congress gave Health Secretary Xavier Becerra the power to fine states that improperly terminated beneficiaries. But the Health Department did not disclose the problems it found.
Months ago, the agency temporarily halted the reductions in 14 states, but did not explain which states or for what reasons.