Iowa Opens The Doors To Medicaid Coverage, On Its Own Terms

Iowa on a desktop globe


iStockphoto

At the Central Iowa Shelter and Services in Des Moines, Iowa, health insurance navigator Andrea Pearce stood in a crowded dining hall on a recent day, shouting instructions on how residents can sign up for Medicaid.

“If you do not have insurance and you want to enroll and you have an e-mail address where you know the password,” she said, “come to the computer lab we will guide you through the application.”

Jerry Gross enthusiastically darted to the front of the line. This tall 56-year-old carries just a duffle bag and his winter coat. He arrived in Des Moines in early December.

He says when he can’t find a job in one town, he hitchhikes until he can find work. But he’s uninsured, and taking care of his health is always tough.

“I take three different water pills for hypertension. I’ve got like 10 more days of that left, and after that what do you do?” he says.

When the federal Affordable Care Act called for states to expand Medicaid programs to cover people like Gross, Iowa Republican Gov. Terry Branstad refused. He said he feared the federal government wouldn’t come through on its promise to fund the expansion to include childless adults. Iowa was one of many states that initially refused all or part of the federal funds offered.

“We’re not just one of those states that said, ‘Oh yeah, we’ll take the federal money.’ No. We said ‘no,’ ” Branstad said during a recent news conference.

Thousands of homeless people like Jerry Gross could benefit from Iowa's Medicaid expansion under<p>Article source: <a href=http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/12/26/257374213/iowa-opens-the-doors-to-medicaid-coverage-on-its-own-terms?ft=1&f=131849999

Tagged:

Comments are closed.