New proposal aims to expand insurance coverage to the working poor in the state
A new proposal in South Carolina could extend health insurance coverage to 194,000 uninsured people in the state. The proposal was introduced by a bipartisan group of Senators who suggest that many of these uninsured people only have access to emergency rooms when they need medical care. These people cannot afford health insurance coverage on their own and their employers do not offer sponsored coverage, leaving them with few options when it comes to medical care.
Past efforts to expand Medicaid have failed
In the past, the state has made efforts to expand its partnership with the federal government in order to ensure people have access to health insurance. These efforts have failed, however, leaving nearly 200,000 people without the coverage that they need. Proponents of the proposal suggest that these people make too much money to be eligible for the state’s Medicaid program, but they are not poor enough to qualify for subsidies for coverage provided through the state’s insurance exchange. As such, they exist in a sort of limbo, where they cannot take advantage of programs that are designed to help them.
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Proposal will make insurance more accessible
The proposal aims to use state and federal money in order to expand the South Carolina Medicaid program. Able-bodied adults that earn $15,000 a year or less would not qualify for the program, but they would be able to find coverage through the state’s exchange due to the provisions of the proposal. Financial aid would be offered to those seeking coverage through the exchange, even if they do not qualify for subsidies from the federal government. Governor Nikki Haley has opposed the proposal, however, as she has been a longstanding opponent of the Affordable Care Act.
Insurance gaps are being exposed by the refusal to expand Medicaid
States are not required to expand their Medicaid programs, but 29 of them have done so with a mix of their own funds and those provided by the federal government. In states that do not have an expanded Medicaid program, light has been shed on the insurance gap that exists among the poor and the working poor. Many people cannot afford private health insurance, but they also do not qualify for state program, leaving them without coverage.