Some Oklahomans fall into gap in Obamacare after state refuses expansion of Medicaid

TULSA - We usually hear the term black hole in stories about space.

It turns out it applies to the Affordable Care Act as well.

Mary in Oktaha wrote us and said, "I went to healthcare.gov. It took only about 15 minutes to complete.  However it also said I could not get it because I live in Oklahoma."
    
Mary is in the black hole.

Obamacare called for the expansion of Medicaid in all 50 states, but Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and some other governors rejected it, creating a gap in Obamacare's coverage.

Healthcare.Gov spells it out clearly. "Many adults in those states ... fall into a gap. Their incomes are too high to get Medicaid under their state's current rules. But their incomes are too low to qualify for help buying coverage in the Marketplace."

That means they're out of luck.

2NEWS asked the governor's office about this and they sent us this statement.

"We have chosen not to expand Medicaid because of the tremendous cost associated with that expansion (over $800 million in the next ten years). In fact, Medicaid costs are already ballooning for the state and straining our state budget without any expansion," said Alex Weintz, Communications Director for Governor Fallin.    

However, the federal government would have paid for all of Oklahoma's Medicaid expansion through 2016.

One Tulsa doctor says the governor made a bad choice.  

She says we're already paying for the uninsured anyway.  

"If people go to the emergency room just for their basic needs, that cost is passed on to those of us who are insured so indeed we pay for the uninsured one way or the other," said Dr. Laura Dempsey-Polan of Morton Comprehensive Health Services.

So what can you do if you fall into this black hole?

Try signing up for Insure Oklahoma , which will cover some people in the gap for at least the next year.
 

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