The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Millions to Lose Medicaid Coverage

May 1, 2023

By agreement of both capitalist parties, federal pandemic protections expired on April 1. As a result, millions of low-paid workers and poor will lose Medicaid coverage during coming months, and hundreds of hospitals in working-class communities will cut patient services, reorganize, and potentially close their doors due to lack of funding.

Some state governments are already removing from Medicaid coverage those who miss application deadlines or no longer qualify. All states expect to complete this “unwinding” of health coverage within the next year.

The 90 million people currently covered by Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program are expected to drop by 20%, to about 72 million. Nearly half will be Black and Hispanic workers. Some may be able to obtain health coverage through more costly Affordable Care Act plans, but hundreds of thousands will fall into an insurance coverage gap between Medicaid and ACA coverage requirements, eliminating affordable options for health insurance coverage.

This drastic reduction in health care support has a major impact on hundreds of so-called “safety net” hospitals that serve working-class communities. These rely most heavily on Medicaid income reimbursements. Many of these, including Chicago’s Loretto, Cook County, and Sinai hospitals, gain more than half their total revenue from this source.

Both Loretto and Cook County Hospitals on Chicago’s West and South sides receive over 60% of their income from Medicaid reimbursements. They expect a big financial blow. Cook County Hospital projects a 40 million dollar loss. Reorganization away from Medicaid service is likely, as well as cutbacks in medical services and staffing levels. The hospital CEO said: “40 million dollars is an incredible amount of money that can make a difference in what our system does.”

This is just one aspect of a generalized war on working class communities, promoted by both Democratic and Republican party politicians, that directs public funds away from social needs and into the coffers of capitalist health networks, developers, and the banks.