Low-income adults to get healthcare access

June 29, 2012 at 5:43 PM
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BUFFALO, N.Y., June 29 (UPI) -- For the minimum-wage worker, the part-time worker or the out-of-work worker the Affordable Care Act will be huge, a U.S. researcher says.

Anthony H. Szczygiel, founder and director of the William and Mary Foster Elder Law Clinic at the University at Buffalo Law School said the Supreme Court ruling on President Obama's healthcare reform law upholds much of the act's intentions to expand coverage, with one major exception -- the expansion of Medicaid.

"The expansion of Medicaid coverage will be a matter of state choice," Szczygiel said in a statement. "And thus in some states, the added coverage will be more limited."

Szczygiel said the Affordable Care Act fundamentally changes the Medicaid program, making it much more like private insurance.

Currently, each state has different restrictions on who is eligible for Medicaid, some states allow some savings and some states allow a low income, but the new law called for employees who earn $14,000 or less to be eligible for Medicaid, Szczygiel said.

Those making more than $14,000 up to a certain level would be eligible for a government subsidy to pay part of private health insurance.

"This is the biggest expansion to healthcare for adults with no children who are low income," Szczygiel said. "This opens it up to newly graduated students age 26 and older, minimum-wage workers, part-time employees, those in entry-level positions, older employees who have been laid off, workers who have been sick and lost their jobs due to illness -- but how it will work depends on which state you live in."

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