States Deliberately Leave Millions of the Poor Uninsured

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Healthcare.gov has been plagued with sign-up glitches. After three weeks, the site isn’t working much better than the rocky start we documented on Day One of the state health insurance marketplaces run by the federal government.

President Obama has a team working to fix the website, NPR says. Unfortunately, millions of Americans waiting to sign up are going to find even more bad news when they finally make it through the system: They aren’t eligible for coverage.

The original plan for the Affordable Care Act was that nearly everyone who doesn’t have insurance through their workplace could purchase private health insurance through the online insurance marketplaces (often with a federal subsidy) or qualify for Medicaid if they were low-income.

“Currently in most states you have to be a child, pregnant or disabled to get Medicaid,” NPR says. “The health law was supposed to change all that — expanding the program to include nearly everyone with incomes up to about 133 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $15,000 a year for an individual.”

However, the U.S. Supreme Court’s health care decision threw a wrench in the works. The court’s majority opinion said that it was up to each state to decide whether or not Medicaid would be expanded.

Only half the states have so far decided to do so, “even though the federal government is paying the entire cost of the additional people for the first three years, and 90 percent going forward,” NPR says.

That will leave an unexpected 6 million to 7 million low-income adults without many options; you can’t even qualify for insurance on the marketplaces without income above the poverty line.

Not sure if your state is expanding Medicaid or not? The Kaiser Family Foundation has a chart documenting the position of each state and Washington, D.C.

The uninsured will likely rely on community clinics and public hospitals, NPR says, but those places are likely to become even more overwhelmed than they already are. Again, the health care law assumed these people would get coverage — so it reduced funding for public hospitals to save money.

Do you think Medicaid should be expanded in every state? Why or why not? Comment below or on our Facebook page.

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Comments & discussion

We welcome your opinions, but let’s keep it civil. Like many businesses, we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. In our case, that means those who communicate by name-calling, racism, using words designed to hurt others or generally acting like an uninformed bully. Also, comments that include links to email addresses or commercial websites typically aren't posted. This isn't a place to advertise your business.

  • Jon Macdonald

    Just because Obama and the federal government will pay doesn’t mean taxpayers won’t pay. We are getting tired of the federal government giving our hard earned tax dollars to those milking the system.

  • faithandhonor

    It is the prerogative of the various states to decide how they will handle their uninsured population, NOT the federal government.

    I am detecting more and more of a “big government” attitude in your publication, which I don’t appreciate. If you want to be journalists, and report the FACTS, that’s fine, but keep the punditry to yourself.

  • arobinson

    I am amazed at how little people know about the health care of our country. Of all the industrialized nations Americans pay a greater percentage of the countries GDP 17.9% for health care then any other nation and by 2033, if health care is allowed to continue as it has, the percentage of GDP paid will be 33%. At the present GDP level, excluding catastrophic illness and lost production due to health related absence, each American pays at the tune of $8,683.00 for health care. Whereas in Canada pays less then half. A prescription here in the States that would cost $300.00, cost $120.00 Canada. Our high cost is not justifiable considering the level of care. Of all the industrialized nations American health care is at the near bottom of the pack. The United States Health Care System leads in two of the twenty categories. We are certainly not getting a good return on our investment. We also have the worst hospitals in term of management , waste, duplication of services, fraudulently practice and deaths do to errors or infections. The American citizen is less healthy then their industrialized nations counterpart. As a matter of health, we are less healthier then many third world countries,. Those who refuse to do their research and listen to the rhetoric of the press and that of the GOP, who talk of the expense and neglects the savings, both in human capital and economic growth, of the Affordable Health Care Act, shall continue to languish in the 19th century. Many of those that are disgruntled are so because they think that they are paying and that the Act is tailored to the poor and that they are going to have to pay for their service. Many of these same people are receiving Social Security Benefits that the previous generation paid for. The Affordable Health Care Act is based in the same rationale = The Public Good. Social Security faced similar charges of Social Legislation and anti business as did the Workers Compensation Act; as did the Child Labor Law; as did Unions; but the American public has benefit from each of these programs And, when either, as were the Unions, was denied for the Argument of Big Government; Anti Business the American people have lost wealth and their investment in the American Dream. We the American People have lost our futurist vision and have become narrowed and shorty sight. Our culture has become one of instant gratification. If I can’t see it now or have it now then it is of no value. The Bush area Tax cuts that robbed the treasury of the United States, The deregulation and corporate tax incentives of that area sucked the United States Dry, but the American people cried foul not, because we were short sighted as gratified as ravenous wolves, but The Affordable Care Act is being met with staunch opposition . No wonder those on capital hill have such low expectations of their electorate., As long as we are being feed,