Medicaid ‘Coverage Gap’ Looming for the Poor in 21 States
Will red state legislators turn around when constituents in their states start getting crushed in the medicaid gap they created? The only way to make that happen is to make it news whenever you see it.
With no options for coverage, Neal rightly fears for her life next year.
“I’m always praying, but in 2014, my prayers will be ever more fervent,” she said. “If the cancer comes back and it’s not detected, it’ll kill me. Most ovarian cancers, by the time you find out you have it, you just need to plan your funeral. So it’s a blessing they have a test for it, but I can’t get the tests if I don’t have health insurance.”
Neal could rest easier if she lived in one of the 23 states where Medicaid eligibility is being expanded for low-income parents and childless adults next year under the Affordable Care Act. Michigan appears close to expanding Medicaid eligibility.
But Missouri and 20 other Republican-led states aren’t participating in Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, fearing the cost would require state budget cuts in other areas. The remaining states are still debating the expansion.
That leaves Neal and 5.5 million others in those 21 states to fend for themselves in the “coverage gap,” a bureaucratic twilight zone where people with poverty-level incomes don’t qualify for Medicaid and can’t get tax credits to help buy coverage on the new insurance marketplaces. Enrollment for them begins in October and they open in January.