CHN’s COVID-19 Watch: Tracking Hardship, February 10, 2023


February 10, 2023

COVID-19 HardshipFebruary 10, 2023 

The cuts are unacceptable edition. Throughout the pandemic, certain Americans have borne more of the brunt of COVID-19 than others. The elderly have experienced the highest death rates. People with low incomes and people of color have been more likely to get sick, and to face economic displacement though job loss, lack of access to affordable child care, and even homelessness. 

These vulnerable Americans now face new threats: cuts to many programs critical to those in need. Some of these cuts appear inevitable. Others will occur only if we fail to stand up to the slim majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

Already on the chopping block are millions of Medicaid recipients who will begin to lose access to health coverage in early April, as pandemic protections phase out. And, with the expiration of the COVID-19 public health emergency declaration on May 11, new expenses for low-income people will follow. A prime example: vaccinations, now free of charge, will cost as much as $125 for the uninsured as early as this summer. 

In addition, as part of an ignoble and reckless effort to hold America’s economy hostage over the issue of raising the debt limit, House Republicans on Wednesday proposed a broad menu of somewhere around $1 trillion in cuts. Included on the menu: almost $100 billion in unspent pandemic aid that has not been obligated for specific purposes, but which state and local governments need going forward; $70 billion by denying the Child Tax Credit to families with immigrants and denying SNAP to poor people who cannot show a work history or other paperwork; $87 billion from the Environmental Protection Agency, including dismissing $60 billion in environmental justice programs as “wasteful;” and $400 billion by ending President Biden’s student loan forgiveness program. 

Many other critical programs could soon be on the chopping block. Health care, housing, education, roads, child care, substance use treatment and a host of other services. But such cuts are not inevitable. That is why, as House Republicans further develop and release their harmful proposals, it is incumbent upon us to fight back. We need to tell Congress – invest in America and in Americans. Don’t cut the things that allow us to survive and thrive. 


15 million 

The Biden Administration projects that 15 million people – about one in six of all enrollees – could lose coverage through Medicaid or CHIP as state programs return to pre-pandemic operations, beginning in early April and continuing for about one year or so if no actions are taken to assist them. While many will lose coverage because they no longer qualify financially, nearly half will drop off for procedural reasons, such as failing to respond to requests for updated personal information. Tweet this.


15,000 out of 900,000;
1 out of 4 

Nevada is an example of a state that could be particularly hard hit by the Medicaid redeterminations. Since February 2020, Medicaid enrollment has risen 47%, after the state’s unemployment rate hit 30% during the onset of the pandemic. Nevada has developed an app to communicate with enrollees, but only 15,000 of 900,000 enrollees have signed up for it. And at least one in four letters to enrollees seeking updated personal information were returned due to an incorrect address. Tweet this.


1.75 million 

Florida has already estimated that about 1.75 million families or individuals could be dropped from Medicaid quickly. Some will be parents whose incomes are too “high” – by Florida’s standards, in a family of two, a parent is ineligible if their income is higher than $6,000. More than half are likely to be children, often missed because the state has wrong addresses. Tweet this.



The enhanced Affordable Care Act subsidies that were passed as part of the Inflation Reduction Act lowered the cost of premiums by an average of $800 per person per year. Tweet this.


1.3 million 

A study in 2022 found that more than 1.3 million Americans skipped, delayed buying, or rationed doses of insulin due to the high cost of the life-saving medication. As part of the Inflation Reduction Act, Congress capped the cost of insulin at $35 a month for Medicare recipients. President Biden is once again proposing that the cost be capped for everyone. Tweet this.



The price of insulin almost tripled from 2002 to 2013 and costs 10 times more in the U.S. than anywhere else, according to the American Diabetes Association.


7-10 million 

There are an estimated 7-10 million immunocompromised Americans. Advocates warn they could be left behind by the impending end of the COVID-19 public health emergency declaration.  Between January 2020 and February 2022, immunocompromised COVID patients in the U.K. were 1.4 times more likely to die in the hospital than those with regular immune systems.




At least 15 bills pending in the Mississippi Legislature that would have expanded Medicaid expired last week without a single hearing, legislative debate, or vote. This is despite the fact that most of the bills had bipartisan support and sponsorship, and that Mississippi has the nation’s highest fetal mortality, infant mortality, and pre-term birth rates.



More than one in 10 people  reported their households sometimes or often did not have enough to eat during the previous seven days, according to the latest Household Pulse survey data. Among Black households, 19.3% said they did not have enough to eat; among Latinos, it was 18.1%. In contrast, 8.2% of White households went hungry, along with 6.5% of Asian households.





Almost two in five households reported they had difficulty paying for usual expenses during the previous seven days. That was the case for 50.7% of Latino households, 48.9% of Black households, 35% of White households, and 32.3% of Asian households. 




COVID-19 Watch