The poor falling through cracks in ObamaCare? - | WBTV Charlotte

The poor falling through cracks in ObamaCare?


Charleze Frazier believes in the idea that all Americans should have health insurance.

So when the Affordable Care Act finally became law, she was thrilled. Then she heard that the state of North Carolina could and would opt out of a part of the plan intended to help the poor.

"And that's when I discovered - wow. I'm left out in the cold," Frazier says. "I still advocate for [the new health care law] because it's good. It's good. But it's just not going to be good for me right now."

That's because Frazier falls into what's being called the coverage gap, and she's hardly alone. A new report by the Kaiser Family Foundation says over 300,000 low-income North Carolina residents are likely to remain uninsured despite the new federal law meant to insure all, because they won't qualify for subsidies.

"I need health insurance coverage," Frazier says. "I need it to be affordable for me. And if I can't get subsidy then it's not affordable to me."

Frazier and others falling into the so-called coverage gap live below the federal poverty level, meaning they make less than $12,000 a year for a single person, or less than $24, 000 for a family of four, and ObamaCare originally intended for those people to get covered through an extension of state-run Medicaid.

But some governors balked at that idea, and it officially fell apart when the Supreme Court ruled that states could not be mandated to expand Medicaid.

"The plan would have helped the state of North Carolina, it would have helped me," Frazier says. "And I just wish we could do something about it.  I wish the governor could have a heart."

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory maintains that North Carolina can't afford to expand its Medicaid program, even though it would have received federal funding to do so - McCrory questioned whether Washington would be able to meet the long-term funding requirements.

Under the terms set in the Affordable Care Act, the federal government would have paid the entire cost of the expansion through 2017, but then it would reduce its share to 90 percent of the tab by 2020.

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