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Coverage gap in state may leave 182,000 uninsured

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A new report that 182,000 low-income residents could go without health insurance is refocusing attention on whether Indiana will win an exception to expand Medicaid using the Healthy Indiana Plan.

The Kaiser Family Foundation reported this week that 28 percent of the state's uninsured residents fall in that "gap" between Medicaid coverage and qualifying for subsidized insurance through the federal exchange. Nationally, the percentage is similar, but the number falling in that gap is more than 5 million.

"People in the coverage gap are likely to face barriers to needed health services or, if they do require medical care, potentially serious financial consequences. Further, the safety net of clinics and hospitals that has traditionally served the uninsured population will continue to be stretched in these states," according to the report.

Rachel Garfield, a senior researcher at Kaiser and one of the report's authors, noted that Indiana's percentage of uninsured residents who would be covered through a Medicaid expansion is similar to other states which have not expanded Medicaid. The states which did expand Medicaid, of course, do not have that coverage gap.

"These are adults without children, generally ineligible(for Medicaid) and they're the also the lowest income people for whom affording coverage on their own is very difficult," Garfield said. "Certainly for the Medicaid expansion component of the law, this was really who was targeted."

As open enrollment on the federal health exchange and state-run exchanges opened this month, many questions still remained about the status expanding Medicaid coverage for residents earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld last year the mandate that residents own insurance, but struck down a provision forcing states to expand Medicaid.

Since then, many Republican-led states have resisted expanding Medicaid.

Gov. Mike Pence and Republican lawmakers, however, have supported expanding coverage using the Healthy Indiana Plan. The Pence administration won a one-year extension of Indiana's state-run alternative to Medicaid this past summer from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. But negotiations with the federal government for an expansion of the plan were pushed back.

A spokeswoman for Pence was not immediately available for comment on the report Thursday.

If Indiana does not win its proposed expansion, the state will face the same problems the federal health care law was supposed to alleviate, said David Roos, executive director of Covering Kid and Families of Indiana.

"Those 182,000 are real live folks who need health care," he said.

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  1. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

  2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

  3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

  4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

  5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.

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