Medicaid programs are the lifeline for millions of Americans, including children, pregnant women, elderly adults and individuals with disabilities, providing medical care and support services. Medicaid programs are also uniquely situated to serve and boost states’ economic engines. As businesses reopen, employers must have access to healthy workforces and that means unemployed citizens must have access to health care and health care coverage. Safety net programs are providing this access to care and are important linchpins. This panel will provide important insights on the impact COVID has had/is having on state Medicaid programs and what challenges/opportunities lie ahead.