Kan., Mo., consumers falling through cracks waiting for health care coverage

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Consumers on both sides of the state line are falling through the cracks waiting for health care coverage despite the promised of the nation's new health care law.

Tuesday night, 63-year-old Kathleen Christian decided to make a special meal for her and her 13-year-old grandson.

"We don't get bacon too much and when we do it's like special," she said

Kathleen was laid off from her job in Lawrence five years ago. Since then, she's been struggling to provide for her family. She has also been trying to get by without health insurance. She was looking forward to signing up under the Affordable Care Act until she saw the price tag.

"Where am I going to get $384?" she asked.  

Kathleen works a part time job and brings in around $1,000 a month which means she's too poor to qualify for tax credits through the Affordable Care Act and she earns too much for the state's Medicaid program.

Stephene Moore, Regional Director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said Kathleen is one of 270,000 people who are in a bad situation.

"They do not qualify through the marketplace for subsidies nor do they quality to get Medicaid in the state that they are in. We don't have an answer to that other than it could be fixed, "she said.

Both Kansas and Missouri along with 22 other states and the District of Columbia chose not to expand Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act, leaving 4.8 million Americans in limbo.

In the coming weeks, legislators in both Kansas and Missouri are expected to address expanding Medicaid coverage for 270,000 people who don't qualify for the Affordable Care Act.

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