CHN’s Human Needs Watch: Tracking Hardship, April 5, 2024


April 5, 2024

April 5, 2024  

The Medicaid Unwinding Edition. One year ago this week, states were required to begin a process known as “Medicaid unwinding” — determining who on their Medicaid rolls was eligible to remain on Medicaid and who was not. During the pandemic, Congress told states not to do the usual periodic determinations of eligibility, so that people would remain eligible for health care if they contracted COVID-19. But as part of a spending bill passed in December 2022, states were required to resume their eligibility checks.  

As of the end of March, there were nearly 12 million fewer people on Medicaid, compared to a year before, of whom nearly 5 million were children. While some of those who lost Medicaid were found to be ineligible, fully 70 percent were dropped for not responding to requests for information, according to a recent report CHN co-released with other organizations including Unidos US, the NAACP, Southern Poverty Law Center, National Urban League, and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.  Many of these people may still have been eligible, but never received or successfully navigated the paperwork requirements. The big takeaway from the stats below? States varied widely in the percentage of terminations. If they used procedures encouraged by the Biden-Harris Administration to make renewals easier, fewer people were dropped.   

And things could get worse. A House Republican budget proposal seeks, over the long haul, to cut the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, and CHIP by $4.5 trillion, turn Medicaid into block grants, slashing federal funding to states to run their Medicaid programs, and threatening a huge range of Medicaid-provided services, including home- and community-based care for the aging and people with disabilities.

We won’t let them. 

12 million 

As of March 26, 2024, Medicaid covered 12 million fewer people than when unwinding began roughly one year ago, including nearly 5 million children. Tweet this.


5 states 

Just five states are responsible for more than half of children’s Medicaid losses: Texas, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, and Arkansas. Tweet this.




States are reporting wide variations in the percentage of people terminated from Medicaid. For example, 57% of Medicaid beneficiaries in Utah have been terminated through the unwinding process; in Maine, 12% were terminated. Tweet this.



If all states had done as well as the best states in cutting Medicaid renewal red tape, two-thirds of Medicaid losses could have been prevented. Tweet this.


7 million 

Medicaid covers 7 million fewer people of color than before unwinding began. This includes almost 4 million Latinos, 2 million fewer Blacks, 500,000 fewer Native Americans, and 500,000 fewer Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. Tweet this.



Fully 70% of Medicaid disenrollees are beneficiaries who may be eligible. These people were terminated due to bureaucratic reasons, such as missing paperwork.


4.76 million 

Children’s enrollment in Medicaid dropped by 4.76 million through March 2024. However, some states have not reported recent data – meaning the number shown is actually too low


6.7 million 

The number of children that Georgetown University’s Center on Children and Families in 2023 estimated could experience a period of uninsurance as a result of unwinding.


8 in 10 

A “secret shopper” investigation by UnidosUS this January found that 8 in 10 callers into the Florida Department of Children and Families had their call automatically disconnected – 80% for English and 82% for Spanish callers.


66 minutes/
47 minutes 

When callers weren’t disconnected, they experienced prolonged delays before reaching a live human being. Callers on the English helpline waited an average of 66 minutes to get a life person, which is almost double what it was in July 2023. Callers on the Spanish helpline waited 47 minutes, which is an hour and 35 minutes less than it was in July 2023.



Medicaid unwinding