Medicaid can be an important tool for addressing racial health inequities, the Kaiser Family Foundation suggests in a new issue brief.

Among the measures involving Medicaid that might be undertaken to address racial health inequities and addressing social determinants of health, the brief suggests (in words taken directly from the issue brief):

  • One significant action that would help close coverage disparities for people of color is adoption of the ACA Medicaid expansion in the 12 non-expansion states.
  • Other expansions of Medicaid eligibility could also address racial disparities in coverage and access to care.
  • Making it easier for eligible people to enroll in and maintain Medicaid coverage may also help close coverage gaps for people of color.
  • The Biden Administration and states may pursue equity-related initiatives through Section 115 waivers.
  • States can leverage managed care contracts to help address racial disparities and social determinants of health.
  • States can also adopt health plan and provider payment options to incentivize reductions in racial health disparities.
  • Expansions of Medicaid benefits and telehealth may increase access to care for all enrollees, including the disproportionate share of people of color covered by Medicaid.
  • It will be important to help prevent the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) from resulting in coverage losses that widen disparities for people of color.
  • Congress could pass Medicaid-related provisions proposed in the Build Back Better Act (BBBA) that may further advance efforts to address racial health disparities.
  • Absent federal legislation, the Biden Administration may continue to advance its equity priorities through administrative actions.
  • Improving Medicaid data collection and reporting will be key for addressing racial health disparities.

Learn more about the data supporting the assertion of racial health inequities and the rationale for using Medicaid as a means of addressing those inequities and social determinants of health in the Kaiser Family Foundation issue brief “Medicaid and Racial Health Equity.”