The Human Cost of Refusing to Expand Medicaid

| Thu Jan. 31, 2013 12:01 PM EST

HHS has announced an exemption to Obamacare's individual mandate:

As the Obama administration took new steps Wednesday to implement the healthcare law's individual mandate, it clarified an exemption for people whose governors don't take part in the expanded Medicaid program....Notably, HHS clarified that the mandate doesn't apply to people who are eligible for Medicaid but live in states that don't take part in the law's Medicaid expansion.

Right. If you're so poor that you qualify for Medicaid, but your state's Republican governor refuses to allow you to have Medicaid coverage, the federal government won't demand that you pay for private coverage instead. This is mere common sense, since such people don't have the money in the first place. Ed Kilgore puts this in human terms:

By my rough back-of-the-envelope calculation from Kaiser Family Foundation numbers, there are about 4 million of such unlucky duckies in the 10 states that are pretty clearly not going to participate in the Medicaid expansion, a number that could jump to well over 5 million if Rick Scott manages to keep Florida out as well....So what do they care about the injustice of this coverage hole? Not a thing, clearly.

Nope, not a thing.

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