12 states refused to expand health coverage to the poor after the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. But there is a way they can still improve people’s lives

Hispanic adults living in the 12 states that refused to expand health coverage to the poor after the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010 will benefit more from policy proposals to reduce the age of eligibility for Medicare at 60, shows a new analysis.

Nearly 43% of Hispanic adults in non-Medicaid expansion states between the ages of 60 and 64 who also earn less than 138% of the federal poverty level ($ 18,754 for a single family) are uninsured. , according to researchers at the University of Pittsburgh. Public Health was found in an analysis published in JAMA Network Open Thursday. This compares to 18% of Hispanic adults with similar ages and income levels who are not yet insured despite living in the 39 states that did expand Medicaid coverage.

“Our results suggest a potential for lowering the Medicare threshold to 60 years to reduce coverage disparities between adults in their 60s and 64s,” the researchers wrote, “especially among low-income Hispanic adults in states without expansion “.

Of the low-income white adults between the ages of 60 and 64 living in non-expanding states, meanwhile, 24.7% had no insurance. (According to the analysis, there was no significant difference in insurance levels between black and white adults of the same age and income group between expansion states and non-expansion states).

An elderly person can typically access Medicare health insurance when they turn 65, joining the tens of millions of other beneficiaries across the country who are currently receiving help to pay for medical visits, hospitalizations, and medical care. recipes as they age. Younger people with lower incomes who do not receive health care through their employers, on the other hand, can access Medicaid, depending on where they live, of course, or they can benefit from health care market subsidies.

However, there are Americans for whom there are virtually no affordable coverage options available, and most of the time they are black and Latino people living in states that have not yet expanded Medicaid. They may fall into the group that is too young for Medicare and too poor for grants, but not poor enough and sick enough for their state’s restrictive Medicaid requirements, a problem often described as the “coverage gap.”

The Biden administration tried to help close this gap in the failed Build Back Better Act by temporarily allowing people below 100% of the federal poverty level to obtain market subsidies from which they have long since been excluded. Since Senator Joe Manchin torpedoed this legislation by saying he could not support it last December, it is unclear when or if this will ever happen.

As Pittsburgh researchers pointed out in their JAMA analysis, lawmakers could also address the gap with a “Medicare-for-more” policy that reduces the age of eligibility, which President Joe Biden supported. during the campaign and approved its fiscal year 2022. budget proposal. Last year, U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Washington State Progressive Democrat, also led an effort by 130 House lawmakers to reduce the eligibility age and expand coverage to at least $ 23 million. of people.

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