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Center for Popular Democracy, Make the Road New York/States, and People’s Action Institute  found that while most respondents were satisfied with Medicaid care, many had difficulty accessing care and risk losing coverage unknowingly

NEW YORK –  Today, the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD), Make the Road New York/States, and People’s Action Institute and their affiliate organizations released their largest Medicaid Survey to date. The report, “Strengthening Medicaid: Challenges States Must Address as the Public Health Emergency Ends,” surveyed 2,937 Medicaid recipients and found that almost half were unaware they needed to renew their Medicaid when the COVID-19 public health emergency ended, putting them at risk of losing coverage. Although many people reported some level of satisfaction with the quality of care they received, enrollees continue to have challenges accessing healthcare services through Medicaid. These problems will only be exacerbated as states reevaluate enrollment and emergency federal funding expires.

“The pandemic reminded us all how important health care is for individuals, families, and communities. That’s why we need to strengthen and expand programs like Medicaid, which is a lifeline to tens of millions of families,” said Sulma Arias, Executive Director of People’s Action Institute. “Our health care system prioritizes the profits of health care corporations, not the people who need it most. We must change it, that’s why we’re proud to work with the Center for Popular Democracy and Make the Road New York/States on this report and the solutions we need to organize and fight for so that everyone can get the care they need.” 

The report also found that nearly one in three survey respondents faced challenges when applying for Medicaid and about one in four experienced challenges when renewing their Medicaid coverage. The most common complaints were long wait times, difficult-to-navigate websites and paperwork, and too-low income ceilings. Despite overall satisfaction with Medicaid, 34 percent of respondents said they or their families did not receive the medical treatment they needed over the past year. 

“Many of our members in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Nevada depend on Medicaid and survived the pandemic because of the program. However, at the same time, there are substantial barriers to obtaining and renewing Medicaid, especially as the public health emergency unwinds. Many of our community members are also explicitly excluded from health insurance due to their immigration status,” said Rebecca Telzak, Deputy Director of Make the Road New York. “It is always people of color, immigrants, kids, and non-English speaking individuals who are particularly affected by these moments and left out of coverage options. We witness it every day in our communities. Now more than ever, we need elected officials and lawmakers to prioritize the health of everyone and ensure that health insurance is available to those who need it most, regardless of immigration status, and that those who are eligible can access health insurance and healthcare seamlessly.” 

“Today’s report shows just how vital Medicaid is for millions of people and, despite the reported shortcomings of the program, how devastating it would be for people to lose access to it,” said Imarogbe Josey, National Field Organizer at the Center for Popular Democracy. “We need lawmakers to understand that Medicaid doesn’t need further restrictions, it needs to be expanded and strengthened to work efficiently for all who need it.”

The Strengthening Medicaid report – the largest survey to date by the Center for Popular Democracy, Make the Road New York/States, and People’s Action Institute – is being released as the COVID-19 public health emergency comes to an end and Congress negotiates the federal budget that could cut funding for key safety net programs. Congress set March 31, 2023, as the end date for the continuous Medicaid enrollment provisions and will phase down federal funding through December 2023. States that accepted the funding can resume un-enrolling people starting this month.

The report can be viewed here.


The Center for Popular Democracy works to create equity, opportunity, and a dynamic democracy in partnership with high-impact base-building organizations, organizing alliances, and progressive unions. We work on campaigns that promote a pro-worker, pro-immigrant, racial and economic justice agenda and win victories to improve people’s lives.

People’s Action Institute‘s mission is to advance a long-term agenda for racial, economic and gender justice by investing in powerful state and local organizations and campaigns that win real change in people’s lives.

Contact: Johanna Kichton,, 202.660.0605

Press Contact
Johanna Kichton

(202) 660-0605

About People’s Action

People’s Action is a national network of 38 state and local grassroots, power-building organizations united in fighting for justice. Our organization recently released a vision for a national Homes Guarantee that has already prompted major legislation from champions including U.S. Reps. Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Rashida Tlaib. We operate the largest progressive rural organizing project in the country. Prior to endorsing Sen. Bernie Sanders for president, we completed a national forum series that The Nation called “the most in-depth, people-powered forum” of the 2020 cycle.”

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