Medicaid Awareness Month

Message From Our Executive Director

Dear friends,

Every year, the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) spends the month of April celebrating the lifesaving program that is Medicaid. Medicaid provides quality health care to more than 90 million people in the nation. Medicaid is essential to the health of families, children, people with disabilities, and seniors not only because health care is essential, but also because its structure allows it to expand as necessary – for example, during a public health emergency or during an economic downturn that leaves many without private insurance.

NHeLP is committed to protecting and improving the Medicaid program for the low-income communities we serve. We are working tirelessly to ensure that Medicaid remains resilient and strong and health care remains accessible to those who need it most. The care that people need to thrive must not be used as a political pawn nor should it be under constant threat of elimination whenever the federal budget is debated.

Join us in increasing awareness of how essential Medicaid is to many in our nation. If you are not already, follow NHeLP on social media to learn more about Medicaid and encourage those that you know to do the same. And, please consider supporting our work by making a contribution today in honor of Medicaid Awareness Month.

Thank you for celebrating the lifesaving program that is Medicaid with us this month and beyond.

In Solidarity,

Elizabeth G. Taylor
Executive Director

Watch our Medicaid Awareness Month video now.

Medicaid Fast Facts

  • Medicaid represents $1 out of every $6 spent on health care in the U.S. and is the major source of financing for states to provide health coverage and long-term services and supports for low-income people. 
  • Medicaid covers health services for 41 million children, nearly half of all children in the U.S.
  • Medicaid is the largest single payer of pregnancy-related services, financing 42% of all U. S. births.
  • Medicaid is a lifeline for nearly half of the 14 million children with special health care needs in the U.S.
  • Medicaid provides health coverage to nearly 17 million people with disabilities and older adults. 
  • Medicaid covers 23% of adults with mental health conditions and 21% of adults with substance use disorder (SUD), a combined estimate of 13.9 million people.

Current Challenges

Medicaid's Continuous Coverage Unwinding

During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) implemented the Medicaid continuous coverage provision, a flexibility to help people across the country get on, and stay on, Medicaid until the end of the declared emergency.

Two years ago,  Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, which set the end date of the Medicaid continuous coverage requirement as March 31, 2023. State Medicaid agencies have since begun to unwind the Medicaid continuous coverage requirement for the first time since 2020. As of March 26, 2024, 19 million Medicaid enrollees have lost their coverage and 70% of everyone disenrolled had their coverage terminated for procedural reasons.

NHeLP is arming state advocates on the ground with critical resources to ensure that individuals and families do not continue to erroneously lose coverage. Learn more about our unwinding work here.

NHeLP's Doula Medicaid Project

The National Health Law Program (NHeLP)’s Doula Medicaid Project seeks to improve health outcomes and address inequities in maternal health by ensuring that all pregnant, postpartum, and post-pregnancy people who want access to a doula can have one. Our starting point in this work is expanding access to sustainable, equitable, and inclusive programs for Medicaid coverage for doula care.

People with low incomes in the United States are at a higher risk of poor birth outcomes, and pregnant and birthing people of color, especially Black and Indigenous/Native American pregnant and birthing people, are especially vulnerable. Doula care is one promising approach to combating inequities in maternal health. Pregnant and birthing people receiving doula care are more likely to have improved health outcomes for both themselves and their infants, including fewer low birth weight babies, lower rates of cesarean births, and higher breastfeeding initiation rates. Doulas can also help reduce the impacts of racism and racial bias in health care on pregnant people of color by providing individually tailored, culturally appropriate, and client-centered care and advocacy.

NHeLP supports and advocates for full spectrum doula care, which we define as doula care for all the ways in which a pregnancy can end, including doula care for prenatal, labor/delivery, and the postpartum period, as well as doula care for abortion, miscarriage, and stillbirth. Learn more about our project here.

Fairness in Automated Decision Making Systems

Algorithms and other automated decision-making systems (ADS) are omnipresent features of Medicaid. ADS make decisions about eligibility and services that greatly impact whether people get the services they need and for which they are eligible.

From NHeLP’s decades-long experience working to stop harm from ADS in Medicaid, we know that ADS are rarely, if ever, going to be perfect. Not only because humans are involved at every level of ADS design, programming, and policies, but also because Medicaid enrollees are a diverse population and health care has endemic institutional biases that are frequently embedded in the ADS.

NHeLP advocates for effective safety nets around ADS to ensure transparency, understandability, and exceptions processes that can reject the automated result. Learn more about our ADS work here.

Litigation and Enforcement

NHeLP has utilized litigation to protect and enforce Medicaid rights on behalf of individuals for more than thirty years. Many of our cases have changed laws, institutional practices, and set lasting health care law precedents.

Over the last few years, we have developed a robust model for collaboration with Health Law Partnerships (HLP), which enables us to engage in effective litigation and enforcement efforts in states across the country.

We use our litigation experience and expertise to navigate any new obstacles to protect health rights of individuals when states fail to adhere to the requirements of the Medicaid Act. Learn more about our enforcement efforts here.

Support NHeLP, Protect Medicaid

Young boy smiling in wheel chair

NHeLP defends Medicaid by protecting the rights of Medicaid beneficiaries. We advocate for better Medicaid policies and laws in Congress and statehouses from coast to coast, enforce Medicaid laws in the courts, and work with national, state and local health and civil rights advocates in order to ensure access to high quality, equitable health care for low-income individuals, families, and underserved communities. We need your support to continue safeguarding the Medicaid program and fighting for health equity. Please consider making a donation to NHeLP today.


For more information, contact our Director of Development, Mizue Suito, at [email protected].