Medicaid provides essential healthcare to millions of low-income Americans. In collaboration with the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD), the Columbia Capstone team studied the experiences of Medicaid recipients to inform CPD’s future research and advocacy efforts. CPD is a national advocacy organization that works to create equity, opportunity and a dynamic democracy, which includes advocating for affordable, high quality healthcare. Alongside CPD, the team worked in close consultation with seven affiliate organizations from the following states and territories: Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, New Hampshire, Texas, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. 

In consultation with CPD and affiliates, the team designed a 30-question survey to collect the stories of Medicaid beneficiaries and better understand their experiences and the challenges they may face in the pursuit of quality health care. The survey was distributed and administered by CPD and its affiliate organizations.  

The SIPA Capstone team analyzed the quantitative and qualitative data from the survey and identified two overarching themes. First, Medicaid recipients need more healthcare, with a focus on coverage of services, affordability of care, and availability of providers. Second, they need better healthcare, with a focus on quality care, experiences of stigma, and administrative barriers. Overall respondents stressed the importance and value of Medicaid and its offerings, though many also stated a need for additional assistance to receive quality care on par with private healthcare. Further analysis also found a compounding of challenges experienced by individuals with disabilities or chronic illness. As CPD and other related organizations move forward in their efforts with Medicaid expansion, it is important to continue to elevate the voices of those receiving its services.