“The best solution, since it already exists, is for people who are in the coverage gap to be able to purchase insurance in the market,” Baldwin said, noting that this is something that is already being done in d ‘other states.

Lawmakers originally wanted to create a federal Medicaid expansion program that would expand coverage to the more than 2 million people in the remaining 12 states who chose not to expand under the Care Act provision. affordable. These states, including Baldwin’s Wisconsin, have either Republican governors or legislatures, or both.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which are said to have managed the program, told Democrats it would take at least three years to put it in place, Baldwin said. In the meantime, lawmakers have reportedly provided these low-income adults with hefty premium subsidies to enroll in policies on Obamacare exchanges at little or no cost.

The delayed schedule, combined with West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin’s aversion to expanding federal programs before consolidating existing ones, presented major challenges to the original plan.

Baldwin said she thought Manchin, who is a vital vote, was “more comfortable” with the plan.

“It’s not all settled, but it’s something that is familiar to her,” she added.

The overhaul under discussion would give those in the coverage gap large federal subsidies for premiums, as well as further help in reducing their out-of-pocket expenses to as close to zero as possible, said Baldwin. Additionally, lawmakers are looking to add additional benefits that are typically available in Medicaid that private plans typically do not cover.

Low-income adults in non-expanding states fall into what is known as the coverage gap because their incomes are too high to qualify for Medicaid in their states, but too low to be eligible for grants. existing Trade on Affordable Care Act. Those below the poverty line – about $ 12,880 for an individual – currently cannot receive federal assistance to purchase Obamacare coverage.

Georgia Senses Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock are two of Medicaid’s biggest gap-closing champions. Georgia is one of the states that chose not to expand Medicaid, leaving 14.5% of its population uninsured in 2020, the third highest number in the country, according to Kaiser analysis of census data.

Warnock, who is running for re-election in 2022 and keen to provide healthcare coverage to a key constituency, has made it clear that he would prefer to close the gap with a proposed federal program, but he is open to a path that covers residents of Georgia.

“What I would prefer is for Georgia to expand Medicaid. Without it, we have to find a way to cover these people, and I’m open to the possibilities of doing that,” Warnock told CNN.

Ossoff echoed the sentiment, saying that “the bottom line for me is that my constituents who are in the coverage gap are hard working Georgians who don’t have health insurance, and they need highest quality care. They must be affordable. We need to close the gap. I am open to considering any policy to achieve these goals and negotiations are ongoing. ”

Warnock and Ossoff both said they had been in discussions with Manchin and others.

“It’s an ongoing conversation,” Warnock said. “This involves not only Senator Manchin but other members of the conference.”

But the sticking point for Manchin and some other Democrats, including Montana Senator Jon Tester, is that states that have already extended Medicaid are footing the bill for 10% of the cost to cover their low-income residents. The federal government pays the rest.

Under the original proposal, the federal government would have taken over the entire rating for recalcitrant states.

“The problem I’m having with that one right now, we’re paying 90/10. So 10% has been paid by all states,” Manchin said earlier this week. “For states that have stood their ground, being rewarded 100% is not fair.”

In a letter to House Democrats on Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote optimistically on the way forward to close the Medicaid divide.

“When it comes to health care, great strides have been made to close the coverage gap in states that have not adopted the Medicaid extension. This extension of the Affordable Care Act brings us to coverage. almost universal, ”Pelosi wrote.

CNN’s Tami Luhby contributed to this report.

About The Author

John R.

Related Posts