The Elevating Medicaid Enrollment Experience (EMEE) is a project executed by the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, seeking ways to support administrative policies that will increase qualified West Virginians’ access to Medicaid. While federal and state agencies have worked for decades to improve the program, there are still gaps in Medicaid that require further investigation to ensure equitable access. EMEE is hosted by the Center on Budget and Policy across several states, such as Louisiana, Kentucky, and Virginia. It hopes to work alongside existing networks and coalitions to allow localized experiences to generate policy discussions within each respective state.
Within the EMEE project is EMEE Voices, which centers around lived experiences as data. In partnership with West Virginians for Affordable Health Care, EMEE Voices will collect stories to inform which Medicaid barriers are most pertinent to West Virginians of color. Existing data asserts that structural barriers and stigma impact Black and brown West Virginians’ interactions with the program. However, more precise investigation is necessary for transforming these disparities into meaningful policy choices. Overall, this project will synthesize quantitative data from various sources, such as DHHR and national databases, and qualitative data, primarily storytelling and survey collection, to provide a holistic understanding of Medicaid barriers. Addressing the obstacles West Virginians of color face will improve Medicaid for all West Virginians, contributing to a healthier state.