As Thousands Are Kicked Off Medicaid, Rights & Democracy Institute Unveils New Findings Highlighting Need to Protect, Strengthen, and Expand Program



Media Contact: Maggie Cawley | | (802) 683-8324

Half of Vermont survey respondents were unaware of the need to renew their coverage when the national public health emergency ended, while nearly half reported challenges applying for, renewing, and accessing services with Medicaid.

MONTPELIER, VERMONT –  Grassroots organizations including Rights & Democracy Institute (RDI) today released one of the most extensive Medicaid surveys to date, featuring regional profiles on dozens of states, including Vermont. 

Between September 2022 and February 2023, RDI worked with national partners to survey 110 Vermont residents about their Medicaid experiences, as part of a larger national survey of 2,937 Medicaid recipients primarily in 14 states. As detailed in the “Strengthening Medicaid: Vermont State Profile,” they found that half of Vermont respondents were unaware that they would need to renew their coverage when the national public health emergency ended, suggesting that many Medicaid recipients could be at risk of losing their coverage. 

“Everyone deserves health care. Medicaid serves so many people in our state. We need to strengthen and expand it nationally, not defund it,” said RDI’s Vermont State Director Alison Nihart. 

Some additional key report highlights include:

  • Nearly half of respondents in Vermont reported challenges applying for Medicaid coverage and a similar percentage experienced challenges renewing coverage. 
  • Vermont was one of three states with the highest percentages of respondents reporting long wait times on the phone and difficulties with the website as barriers during the application process. 
  • Half of Vermont respondents reported challenges accessing services with Medicaid. 

Despite overall satisfaction with the care received, over 60% of Vermont respondents cited a lack of available providers who accept Medicaid coverage. “I was told to call back in 6 months to be put on a waitlist for a possible appointment. How is this health care?” said another respondent. 

The national report that the Vermont survey is part of, entitled Strengthening Medicaid: Challenges States Must Address as the Public Health Emergency Ends,” was written in partnership with People’s Action Institute, the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD), and Make the Road New York/States. This report comes just weeks after the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency on May 11 and as Congress negotiates a federal budget that could cut funding for key programs and initiate work requirements for Medicaid recipients. Congress set March 31, 2023, as the end date for the continuous Medicaid enrollment provisions and will phase down federal funding through December 2023. States that accepted the funding can resume un-enrolling people starting this month. 



Founded in 2016, the Rights & Democracy Institute (RDI) works across Vermont and New Hampshire to advance human rights and a healthy, just, and equitable future for our communities. Through grassroots organizing, transformative policy work, and supporting the development of a new generation of leaders from rural communities, particularly those that have been most impacted by harmful policies, RDI is building power for a strong and inclusive multiracial democracy where everyone can thrive.