The Gallaghers from ‘Shameless’
Fans of Showtime’s dark comedy series “Shameless” know that the Gallagher family, like the more than 46 million Americans living in poverty, can barely afford basic necessities, let alone health insurance.
Obamacare had intended to cover the poor through an expansion of the Medicaid system. But that plan hit a bump in the road when the US Supreme Court ruled that states could opt out of the expansion. So now, “The Medicaid expansion is going to vary depending on where you live,” says Wedig.
Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have agreed to boost Medicaid coverage, but 21 have said no, and six are undecided.
The Gallaghers live in Chicago, which is in one of the expander states (Illinois).
Low-income people in nonexpansion states can request an exemption from the individual mandate based on financial hardship.
“Ironically, people with incomes from 138 to 400 percent of the poverty line are eligible for subsidies to purchase insurance through an exchange, but people with incomes from 100 to 138 percent are not,” says Baldwin. “They were supposed to be covered by Medicaid. But in states that do not expand Medicaid coverage, these people are the big losers after the Supreme Court ruling.”