Find out how to take action on Medicare-for-All, vaccine equity, & more.
Find out how to take action on Medicare-for-All, vaccine equity, & more.
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“We grieve and stand in solidarity with the Asian American and Pacific Islander community against the ongoing anguish of racism in our shared land. We are reminded once again -- with painful heartache -- that the history and current experience of racist hatred in our country extends far beyond Black and White." Read our statement and reflections from the HCH community.
March 25, 2021 | Volume 25, No. 3 | Archives
Vaccines, Medicaid, Single-Payer NOW, and More!
A hard winter season is behind us, and spring comes with opportunities to act, promises of recovery, and exciting new legislation (Single-Payer NOW!)
COVID-19 and Vaccine Prioritization
While vaccination rates increase and supplies make their way around the country, vaccine distribution and access remain inequitable. The Council’s work continues on prioritizing people experiencing homelessness for care. See our open letter to Governors and local officials, with over 90 endorsements, about inequities in vaccination prioritization and the need for more flexible state-level policies. Sign up for the bi-weekly Council COVID-19 Flash Blast to get the latest resources and updates.
TAKE ACTION: The HCH community must continue talking with Governors, local health authorities, community partners, and other policymakers to ensure people experiencing homelessness are getting vaccinated. This requires expanded eligibility, low-barrier approaches, provider flexibility, and open communication. Reference our open letter and/or contact for further consultation and resources on advocating for people without homes in your community.
Storytelling is a powerful form of advocacy. The latest edition of the National Consumer Advisory Board’s newsletter, The Consumer Voice, features perspectives from people with the lived experience of homelessness on getting the COVID-19 vaccine and surviving a COVID-19 diagnosis, along with other stories, poetry, interactive media, and contributions from the Council’s policy team.
Single-Payer Now!
The single-payer bill (H.R. 1976 Medicare-for-All) was reintroduced on March 17 in the U.S. House of Representatives with a record-breaking 112 co-sponsors. Watch the launch event (and look for our CEO at 1:14:09). Learn more about single-payer and why the Council believes it is the best solution for achieving health equity on our landing page. 
TAKE ACTION: To get a vote on the House floor, at least 106 more House members must signal support. Individuals may sign a petition telling Congress we need Medicare-for-All. Want to do more? Find online trainings, a storytelling portal, and local advocacy chapters with Healthcare-NOW! or contact and we’ll help connect you with your member of Congress.
Medicaid Changes Under Biden
The Biden administration is reversing actions of the Trump administration to undermine Medicaid. This month, following action to discourage work requirements, the Biden administration withdrew Medicaid waivers for work requirements in Arkansas and New Hampshire. Now a moot issue, the Supreme Court pulled the work requirement case off their agenda. There is now also a large financial incentive for the 12 states (AL, GA, FL, KS, MS, NC, SC, SD, TN, TX, WI, WY) that haven’t expanded Medicaid to do so. Currently, the vast majority of HCH patients in non-expansion states are uninsured (how does YOUR state compare?). The American Rescue Plan Act (see more below) includes provisions that would increase a state’s Medicaid match rate for the traditional  Medicaid population by 5% if a state expands. (This is in addition to the 6.2% increase through the end of the public health emergency.) More than 2 million people are in the coverage gap and could benefit if all states chose to expand. This is a major opportunity to Take Action if you live in a non-expansion state. NOW is the time to be loud with your Governor (find contact info) about the need to expand coverage. Use the state-by-state cost saving and coverage estimates (as well as the HCH data linked above) provided by Kaiser Family Foundation in your advocacy.
The American Rescue Plan Act and What's Next in Congress
This month, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The $1.9 trillion bill includes billions for rental assistance, vaccines, Medicaid, and more. See our breakdown of relevant provisions. Congressional leadership plans to start negotiations on another major COVID-19 relief bill before the mid-term elections. Before that, Congress will begin work on the 2022 federal budget and immigration reform, along with a slew of other priorities (see more above and below on Medicare-for-All and drug policy reform). Follow along with Mobilizer to find ways to Take Action and learn about bills relevant to our 2021 policy priorities.
Eviction Moratorium Approaches Expiration
The CDC’s federal eviction moratorium expires on March 31, 2021. While it was discussed in negotiations for the American Rescue Plan Act, Congress was ultimately unable to extend the moratorium because of the budget reconciliation process. Advocacy continues calling for the Biden administration to extend and improve the moratorium through the end of the pandemic. The current moratorium is under regulatory review, signaling it may be extended soon. The Council will report on opportunities for advocacy and extensions in future Mobilizers. In the meantime, prevent client evictions by assisting clients in filling out the required signed declaration and find state/local actions on evictions.
Point-In-Time Counts Shows Chronic and Unsheltered Homelessness is Rising
This month, HUD released the 2020 Point-In-Time (PIT) count report, conducted in January 2020 before COVID-19 began. For the first time ever reported, the number of individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness outnumbers those staying in shelters (209,413 vs. 199,478). The report shows homelessness increasing nationwide and a 15% increase in individuals experiencing chronic homelessness. While the 2020 count of 580,000, up from 568,000 in 2019, is considered an under-estimate by homeless policy experts, the PIT report provides the best national attempt to demonstrate the ongoing crisis of homelessness.
Drug Policy Reform Bills on Our Radar
In late February, Rep. Tonko (D-NY) re-introduced the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act that eliminates the requirement for practitioners to obtain a separate “X-waiver” through the DEA to prescribe buprenorphine.  In the next few weeks, Senator Warren (D-MA) is expected to reintroduce the Care Act, which provides $100 billion for the opioid addiction crisis (see past press events at Boston’s HCH and Baltimore's HCH).  The Council looks forward to working with our partners on Capitol Hill to make addiction treatment more accessible. Stay tuned in future Mobilizers for opportunities to advocate and provide input as these two bills gain traction in the coming months.
Housing and Health Officials Confirmed
Following the confirmation of Marcia Fudge for secretary of the Department of Housing and Development (HUD), this month Xavier Becerra was confirmed as the first Latinx secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Dr. Rachel Levine was also confirmed as assistant secretary for health at HHS, becoming the first openly transgender Senate-confirmed appointee.
2021 Virtual Conference
Join us at the virtual 2021 National HCH Conference & Policy Symposium on May 10-14, 2021. Whether you’re interested in exploring racial equity or medical respite/recuperative care, harm reduction, or trauma-informed care, we hope you will join us as we unite to explore the future of homeless health care and real solutions to homelessness. Note, the Council is providing subsidies to support attendance for people with the experience of homelessness.
What We're Reading
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Regina Reed, MPH
Health Policy Manager
National HCH Council
Baltimore, MD
(443) 703-1337 
This publication and all HCH advocacy are funded by dues from Organizational Members of the Council and by private donations. Consider joining the Council to support this work.
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