Life in Obamacare’s Dead Zone – The New York Times

A PHS 795 student writes about an article in the NYT about working, low-income Americans who are eligible for neither Medicaid nor subsidized insurance on the ACA exchanges:

Yesterday, an article was published on the New York Times regarding the coverage gap between Obamacare and Medicaid. I was moved by this poignant article, as it discusses the personal ramifications of being uninsured. This article discusses the innovative ways providers had adapted to the overwhelming demands of treating the uninsured and medically isolated, where the coverage gap exists. This article reemphasizes the fact that being uninsured is still costly. It is costly on the uninsured mental health, it is costly on community contributions, and it is costly to treat potentially preventable diseases that could have been managed if the uninsured had been able to see a physician on a regular basis.


2 thoughts on “Life in Obamacare’s Dead Zone – The New York Times

  1. This is an example of how public health policy makers need to be aware of political climate and feasibility/acceptability of programs. Policy makers should have policy ready in order to catch a favorable political climate (for example, a good time to push for increased funding for emergency preparedness or infectious disease control was during the beginning of the Zika outbreak when the media was driving public concern). Policy makers should also be aware of the obstacles they will face in an unfavorable political climate. It may have seemed unreasonable or harmful to wait for Republican state governments to finally get on board with health care reform, but releasing the ACA during a time of political division resulted in an incomplete and fractured version that did not do the good it was designed to do. Part of public health policy making is not only designing effective legislation but also interpreting potential reception and mitigating harmful responses.


  2. Thank you for sharing this article. I really enjoyed how the author first started with a narrative of someone living in the Obamacare Dead Zone. I think it really grabbed a readers attention no matter what kind of background that they might have. It interesting to see that a lot of it stems back to the lack of expansion from 19 states. The non-expansion of these stated resulted in the residents with the lowest incomes in those 19 states were now caught between making too much to qualify for Medicaid, or didn’t qualify at all, but they also made too little for publicly subsidized insurance on the exchanges, their income not high enough to trigger the refundable tax credits and cost-sharing that could make the possibility remotely affordable to someone making just a few dollars above the federal poverty level. This is an incredibly relevant topic to the current society that we are living in.


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