Obamacare Gap

Professor Aubrey Jewett

At the most basic level, the Affordable Care Act or "Obamacare" is intended to reduce the number of Americans that don't have health insurance. 

Around 4 million Americans fall into this coverage gap of not being able to get Obamacare or Medicaid.

So how does this happen? The law states that employers only have to provide "affordable" coverage to their workers, but not their dependents. Or, you might work but not make the $16,105 a year to meet Obamacare requirements in Florida. And with Medicaid not yet expanding in Florida, that leaves people out of the loop. Meaning, their income is above current Medicaid eligibility but below the lower limit for marketplace premium tax credits.​

Florida is one of the 17 states that hasn't expanded Medicaid yet.

A Kaiser Family Foundation analysis found that women account for 49% of adults in the coverage gap.

Kathleen Voss Woolrich is one of the many single mothers in this gap as well.

"I make too much to get pure Medicaid but I don't make enough to buy Obamacare. I'm critically ill and I need the help," said Voss Woolrich.

Kathleen was diagnosed with congestive heart failure among many other illnesses. She believes her heart failure stemmed from her not having health insurance and not being able to get checked. She says she just wants to be healthy enough to work to pay for insurance.

Political Science professor Aubrey Jewett says even though expanding Medicaid was on Rick Scott's platform, a governor doesn't have those rights.

"They have to get the legislature to agree and in this case the Republican Legislature has not agreed and still has not expanded Medicaid," said Jewett.

And for those suffering right now, it's a tough pill to swallow.

"My dream, is to have Obamacare," said Voss Woolrich.

But Professor Jewett said medicaid expansion in Florida is probably not going to happen any time soon.

Story and photos by Natalie Peluchette.

 

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