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Georgia sees one of the highest drops in child Medicaid enrollments since the unwinding

Kelly Sikkema

Between March and September, 5.1 million Americans – and 2.2 million American children in particular – have lost their Medicaid coverage, according to new data from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMMS).

Pandemic-era protections designed to keep adults and children covered under the Medicaid umbrella ended in May; and while South Carolina was one of the five states that saw the most rapid drop-off of Medicaid program enrollments for adults and children in the first month of Medicaid “unwinding,” the state’s numbers for child disenrollment specifically are closer to the middle among states and the District of Columbia.

North Carolina’s numbers are similar to South Carolina’s. Each state saw a little more than 22,000 disenrollments in CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program between March and September, according to the CMMS report.

Georgia, on the other hand, saw the third most total disenrollments, with 149,080, trailing Texas and Florida. Those latter states combined for almost 900,000 total disenrollments. These three states, plus Ohio and Arkansas, saw more than 1.2 million total disenrollments, 54 percent of all disenrollments nationwide.

Percentagewise, Georgia saw a 9 percent drop in child enrollment between March and September, whereas South Carolina saw a 3 percent drop and North Carolina saw a 2 percent drop.

South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Texas are among the 10 states that have not expanded Medicaid access under Affordable Care Act provisions. On average, according to CMMS, the decrease in child enrollment is larger in states that have not expanded Medicaid. But of the 10 states with the highest percentage of falloff in child enrollment, eight are expansion states.

Scott Morgan is the Upstate multimedia reporter for South Carolina Public Radio, based in Rock Hill. He cut his teeth as a newspaper reporter and editor in New Jersey before finding a home in public radio in Texas. Scott joined South Carolina Public Radio in March of 2019. His work has appeared in numerous national and regional publications as well as on NPR and MSNBC. He's won numerous state, regional, and national awards for his work including a national Edward R. Murrow.