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Medicaid Matters in Rhode Island



Rhode Island’s Medicaid Program serves approximately one-in-three Rhode Islanders, providing access to primary and preventive health care services for children, parents, adults, seniors and people with disabilities. Medicaid is the primary funder for long-term care services that children and adults with significant disabilities and seniors need to live safely at home or to pay for care in a nursing facility or other facility when that level of care is needed. This report provides information about the breadth and scope of the Medicaid program in Rhode Island and includes stories from Rhode Islanders for whom Medicaid provides access to health care and for some, access to services that allow them to remain at home and community.

Medicaid Matters from Oscar d’Angeac on Vimeo.

Medicaid matters to Rhode Islanders. Hear from local Medicaid recipients why Medicaid matters to them, and why it matters to our State.

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Current FEDERAL PRIORITIES that the Protect Our Healthcare Coalition is working on include:

  • Support for the RI Attorney General & U.S. House of Representatives in their defense of the ACA in Federal Court (Texas v. Azar).  Read our statement on the most recent (December 2019) appeals court ruling.
  • Support the Protecting Pre-Existing Conditions and Making Health Care More Affordable Act (HR986)).
  • Support Strengthening Health Care & Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act. (HR987)
  • Support Lower Health Care Costs Act (S1895).
  • Support legislation to re-establish a Federal ACA Reinsurance program.
  • Oppose federal Medicaid rule making that allows states to impose work requirements and other limits on Medicaid eligibility.
  • Oppose changes to federal public charge rules related to basic health & nutrition assistance for immigrant families.

But, there’s always more!


We strongly support the Affordable Care Act and appreciate what it has done to advance our healthcare system. But we know that to achieve health care for all we need more systemic change. We must shift the debate about health care forward, providing a platform for more open and honest dialogue.

If we all stay engaged, we can move our nation forward towards universal health care as a right.

There are many good, progressive voices in the debate.  Below are a few links to the thoughts and ideas of those with deep experience in either or both politics and policy who share a common vision for health care for all but may share differing views on how to get there.

Our STATE PRIORITIES reflect our work to protect and promote access to quality, affordable healthcare for all.


We advocate for a strong state Medicaid program to ensure access to care for every Rhode Islander, regardless of income.

We oppose the proposal  to enact co-payments for prescription drugs and in-patient hospital stays for adults in Medicaid in the 2021 state budget.  Data demonstrates that even seemingly small co-payments pose a real barrier to accessing needed care.


We support enshrining ACA consumer protections in state law: Consumer protections are a cornerstone of the ACA’s effort to ensure quality coverage for a fair price to everyone, regardless of how they get their coverage. Rhode Island has already enacted provisions of the ACA in state law, including passage in 2019 of a state-based individual mandate with shared responsibility penalty. We must now ensure that state-mandated coverage provides guaranteed renewability regardless of pre-existing condition, coverage for essential health benefits including pediatric dental and women’s reproductive health, and protection against annual and lifetime limits for the treatment of chronic conditions and life-saving care.


We support prohibiting surprise medical billing: Surprise medical billing is a serious problem. Rhode Islanders buy health insurance to protect themselves from the high cost of medical care. They should be able to expect that if they pay their premiums and follow the rules to the best of their ability, their insurer will cover the cost of medically necessary care beyond their specified copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles.

We support strengthening our state’s RIte Share Program: RIte Share is a program for employees who qualify for Medicaid and have access to cost-effective employer sponsored health insurance. We support the budget proposal to maximize enrollment in RIte Share by requiring that large for-profit employers with 50+ employees participate in RIte Share or pay an assessment for non-participation or non-compliance.

The Protect Our Healthcare Coalition also supports initiatives to reduce HEALTH DISPARITIES – most specifically we must expand access to safe, affordable housing: We advocate that the state seek approval from the Center for Medicaid Services for the home stabilization program and enact a statute requiring accountable care organizations to invest in early interventions to stabilize housing for their patients, including investing in home-based services and home modifications.  Read our full position statement on Housing & Healthcare.

Please reach out to us if you have a question, comment or information.

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