In Some States, Poorest Out of Luck on Health Care Reform

Governors didn't expand Medicaid

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted May 25, 2013 12:05 PM CDT

(Newser) – As the full rollout of ObamaCare draws near, the New York Times reports that millions of the nation's poorest citizens will remain ineligible for help getting insurance even when the new laws go into effect. It all depends on where they live: More than two dozens states—including Rick Perry's Texas—have opted not to expand Medicaid as part of the overhaul. People in those states who fall below the poverty line will find themselves in a frustrating spot: They won't be eligible for any help getting insurance, even though people who make slightly higher incomes can get federal subsidies. It's a little convoluted—and the Obama administration is worried it will get blamed, instead of the governors—but some quotes in the story bring the point home:

  • “A lot of people will come in, file applications and find they are not eligible for help because they are too poor," says the director of an interfaith group in Texas. "We’ll have to tell them, ‘If only you had a little more money, you could get insurance subsidies, but because you are so poor, you cannot get anything.’"
  • “If the breadwinner in a family of four works full time at a job that pays $14 an hour and the family has no other income, he or she will be eligible for insurance subsidies," says an expert in Louisiana. "But if they make $10 an hour, they will not be eligible for anything.”
  • “In states that do not expand Medicaid, some of the neediest people will not get coverage," says the president of a child advocacy group. "But people who are just above the poverty line or in the middle class can get subsidized coverage. People will be denied assistance because they don’t make enough money. Trying to explain that will be a nightmare.”
  • Click for the full story.

  (Shutterstock)
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