Many Poor Blacks in the South Will Remain Uninsured

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Even if healthcare.gov, the web portal for federal health insurance exchange, worked perfectly, more than five million poor, uninsured adults, many of them Black, will continue to go without coverage, because they live in states that didn’t expand Medicaid, according to a recent brief by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Through the Affordable Care Act, the federal government agreed to pay 100 percent of the cost of the Medicaid expansion through 2016 and at least 90 percent through 2020.

The Obama administration planned for nationwide expansion of Medicaid, the health insurance program that covers the poor and disabled, setting the Medicaid income eligibility at 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or roughly $27,000 for a family of three. In June 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that states could decide whether they want to expand Medicaid. According to the Kaiser Commission, more than half of states, a majority in the southeast, decided not to expand Medicaid. That decision created a coverage gap affecting 27 percent of uninsured adults.

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