The Biden administration on Monday warned the governors of nine states of unusually high Medicaid coverage losses among children, suggesting that officials have failed to protect young, low-income Americans while winning the program roles.

Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services, wrote letters to state leaders who had power. highest number or percentage losses in Medicaid coverage among children through September, after the expiration of a federal policy that required states to keep people in the program.

Calls to state leaders have been coupled with a call to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. The letter’s recipients included the governor. Ron DeSantis of Florida, governor. Brian Kemp of Georgia and Governor. Greg Abbott from Texas. All three are Republicans who lead states that have not expanded Medicaid and where hundreds of thousands of children lost coverage this year.

The nine states accounted for about 60 percent of the decline in enrollment in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, through September, federal health officials said.

Governors should “ensure that no eligible child loses their health insurance because of red tape,” Becerra said during a press briefing Monday morning. I called on state officials to facilitate transfers Medicaid children at CHIP; reduce waiting times in call centers; And adopt special rules which allow states to facilitate their procedures for keeping children enrolled in Medicaid.

The letters, which the Biden administration released Monday along with new data on child Medicaid losses through September, signaled a new aggressive posture during the so-called easing of the federal Medicaid requirement.

The process was marred by technical problems, administrative errors and delays that caused thousands of poor children to lose their health coverage.

Federal officials were reluctant to target governors or Medicaid officials in their efforts to resolve these bureaucratic problems. Some advocacy groups and public health experts have said the administration has not been aggressive enough to expose, stop and resolve the processes that have led large numbers of children to lose coverage in some states.

In a publish on, governor. Sarah Huckabee Sanders of Arkansas, a Republican to whom Mr. Becerra wrote Monday, accused the Biden administration of undertaking a “politically motivated public relations stunt, accusing us of restricting access to Medicaid.”

” It’s wrong. During the unwinding process mandated by federal law, the Biden Admin sent letters to some states to suspend their unwinding, but Arkansas was never one of them,” she wrote. “Arkansas Complies with State and Federal Laws, While Biden Plays Politics on Christmas.”

Child Medicaid enrollment declined by more than three million this year, according to a separate analysis released Monday by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families.

Due to data lags and differences in how states report Medicaid losses, this figure is likely significantly underestimated.

Overall, Medicaid enrollment declined by nearly eight million, the researchers found. According to Georgetown researchers, seven million children could be uninsured for at least some time due to the program’s unwinding, representing nearly one in 10 children nationwide.

Through September, Florida, Texas and Georgia saw the largest declines in the number of children enrolled in Medicaid nationally, according to data shared Monday by federal health officials. Federal health officials noted Monday that the 10 states that did not expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act had enrolled more children than all those that did combined.

Stacey Pogue, senior policy analyst at Every Texan, a research and advocacy group, said Monday that thousands of children in Texas are still waiting for decisions from Medicaid officials, who face a problem. significant backlog of requests.

“We didn’t have the necessary staff. We didn’t have the technology,” Ms Pogue said.

According to KFFa nonprofit health policy research group, more than 70 percent of people who lost Medicaid this year did so for procedural reasons, such as when a family failed to return documents confirming his eligibility.

Children have more generous eligibility limits for Medicaid and CHIP, suggesting that many of those who lost coverage this year should have remained eligible for some form of coverage.

The researchers emphasized that only a small percentage of children have moved to CHIP, a sign that states have not done enough to facilitate these transfers.

Federal officials also presented figures Monday showing what they said was a clear correlation between declining Medicaid losses and the adoption of special exemptions Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; States have requested waivers to facilitate the eligibility verification process.

The Biden administration said Monday that the waivers, including nearly 400 have been approved so farwould be extended until 2024.

Robin Rudowitz, program director on Medicaid and the uninsured at KFF, said the waivers have allowed states to use other government benefit programs to automatically verify Medicaid eligibility and give health care organizations managed the authority to assist program beneficiaries in completing application forms.

Some states have sought even more ambitious versions. Kentucky and North Carolina recently extended Medicaid eligibility for children by 12 months.

States are “doing so many things at once that it’s hard to sort out what makes the biggest difference,” Ms. Rudowitz said. The data presented Monday by the Biden administration, she added, “was an attempt to tie some specific policies to what might happen.”

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