NY Times stories today:
Millions of Poor Are Left Uncovered by Health Law By SABRINA TAVERNISE and ROBERT GEBELOFF
State failures to expand Medicaid mean two-thirds of the poor blacks and single mothers and more than half of the low-wage workers who do not have insurance will not benefit from the new health law.
I thought the Federal exchanges would take care of that?
There's another headline that mentions a family that earns too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to qualify for a subsidy? Don't quite understand that either.
Part of the answer:Those excluded will be stranded without insurance, stuck between people with slightly higher incomes who will qualify for federal subsidies on the new health exchanges that went live this week, and those who are poor enough to qualify for Medicaid in its current form, which has income ceilings as low as $11 a day in some states.
How could they have written a law that would exclude the poorest who were meant to be helped the most? Shouldn't the law have been amended to account for the Supreme Court decision that allowed the states to opt out of expanding Medicaid? Of course, that would have opened a can of worms based on how the law was passed (with reconciliation) ... but since Obama has had no problem in making other changes to the law, why not any change in consideration to these poorest people?In Mississippi, Republican leaders note that a large share of people in the state are on Medicaid already, and that, with an expansion, about a third of the state would have been insured through the program. Even supporters of the health law say that eventually covering 10 percent of that cost would have been onerous for a predominantly rural state with a modest tax base.
The crux seems to be that the Federal exchanges made no provision for the lower incomes because the state Medicaid programs were supposed to be expanded to cover them. When states opted not to expand Medicaid, there was a gap that has not been filled. Definitely an unanticipated consequence. Why is DC not paying attention to this glitch which is not fixable with just a computer software fix?