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Medicaid Gap Takes Root In Pennsylvania

(credit: CBS3)

(credit: CBS3)

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As health care advocates work to get uninsured Philadelphia area residents into health plans by the deadline of March 31st, they’re running into a common problem: People who don’t qualify for help paying for insurance, because they’re too poor.

It’s called the Medicaid gap.

The problem has cropped up from the beginning of sign up.

The Affordable Care Act expected Medicaid would expand to cover all low income people but the Supreme Court ruled states could decide whether to expand medicaid and Pennsylvania didn’t.

Antoinette Krauss of the Health Access Network says the impact is becoming clearer as more people try to sign up.

“We’ve had people cry because they need health care so bad and they thought they were going to be able to get it. It’s creating frustration and anger among people that really need access,” Krauss estimates that’s half a million people statewide, 117-thousand in Philadelphia more than 60 percent of the uninsured here.

The governor recently applied for a waiver to expand Medicaid but it would cut benefits and impose new conditions, even for current recipients.

As more people apply for health insurance by this month’s deadline, more are learning they can’t get it.

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