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February 12, 2014

Coverage Gap Leaves Millions Struggling

Millions are caught between earning too little and too much.

A growing insurance coverage gap is trapping millions of low-income Americans without affordable coverage thanks to yet another failure of ObamaCare. When the law was passed in 2009, Democrats in Washington believed they could hide its tremendous cost by passing some of it on to the states through forced expansion of their Medicaid programs. Thankfully, the Supreme Court put an end to that farce in 2012 when it struck down the provision, though regrettably it stopped short of throwing the whole law in the trash.

By that time, Medicaid had already grown prohibitively expensive in some states, consuming as much as 50% of their annual budgets. Freed of the burden of carrying the federal government’s water, Republican governors and legislators in 24 states refused to take the bait, opting instead to protect their states’ fiscal health. Now, many low-income families are learning the hard way that they don’t earn enough to qualify for federal subsidies to purchase insurance, but they also earn too much to enroll in Medicaid. In other words, they’re caught in a coverage gap. And then there’s the problem highlighted last week of people opting not to work as much in order to avoid losing their subsidies. Only a law born in Washington could create such a cosmic joke.

Well, people may not be able to keep their insurance, but at least they can keep their doctor, right? Not exactly. Reports are coming in from around the nation of chronic care patients in danger of losing their coverage as insurance companies cut hospitals and other providers from their plans. For example, Seattle Children’s Hospital is threatening legal action against Washington State’s insurance commissioner over being excluded from a major insurance network. Dr. Sandy Melzer said, “We’re seeing denials of care, disruptions in care. We’re seeing a great deal of confusion and, at times, anger and frustration on the part of these families who bought insurance thinking their children were going to be covered, and they’ve found that it’s a false promise.” Indeed, the bottom line is that ObamaCare is a false promise.

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