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United States representatives Don Davis, Steve Cohen of Tennessee, and Hank Johnson of Georgia today relaunched the State Medicaid Expansion Caucus for the 118th Congress and introduced a resolution affirming congressional support for Medicaid expansion.

“Since being elected to Congress, I have advocated for life-saving coverage for nearly 100,000 eastern North Carolinians, saving our rural hospitals and bringing over 3,500 new jobs into our region,” said Davis. “It is past time for us to expand Medicaid in North Carolina, even if doing so requires pursuing alternatives to statewide expansion. The State Medicaid Expansion Caucus will work to advance solutions to expand Medicaid for those trapped in their state’s coverage gap.”

Cohen said, “More than a decade after passing the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans remain without coverage because politicians in Tennessee and ten other states continue to choose partisan interests over the health of their residents and contrary to evidence it would save states money.” 

Cohen said, “I have repeatedly urged Governor Lee to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, but he and his predecessors refused against all reason. In the face of state resistance, I have worked to pass alternative measures to close the Medicaid coverage gap at the federal level, but my Republican colleagues have blocked us at every turn. By relaunching the Caucus, I hope to spur my colleagues to action and lead the charge in Congress to expand Medicaid in all fifty states.”

Johnson said, “Paraphrasing my dear friend and former colleague, the late-great Congressman John Lewis: Access to quality, affordable healthcare should be a human right — not a privilege. Expanding Medicaid is simply the right thing to do. It will provide access to insurance for half a million more Georgians and create more than 60,000 jobs at the same time. It's not hard — do the right thing.” 

The news comes after North Carolina State Representative Michael Wray Wednesday signed on as a sponsor of a state Medicaid expansion bill.

Davis said the SMEC will work to build support for expanding Medicaid in the 11 states that have failed to do so. 

When South Dakota implements expansion in June, the remaining outliers will be: Wyoming, Wisconsin, Kansas, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. 

Davis said because of resistance in state legislatures — nearly 2.2 million Americans remain in the Medicaid coverage gap — leaving them without access to lifesaving care.

He described Americans in the Medicaid coverage gap as non-elderly, low-income adults who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to afford private health insurance. 

“Louisiana, South Dakota, and Missouri recently expanded Medicaid on a bipartisan basis. However, the remaining non-expansion states have yet to find a path forward for the millions of Americans who remain in desperate need of care,” Davis said. “The State Medicaid Expansion Caucus will lead the charge in Congress to expand Medicaid across the nation to ensure everyone has access to the lifesaving care they deserve.”