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There's a hangover from the early days of Obamacare enrollments in which was broken and the states were disorganized, and it needs to be fixed, immediately. Right now, as many as a couple million new Medicaid patients still haven't had their applications processed.
At least 2.9 million Americans who signed up for Medicaid coverage as part of the health care overhaul have not had their applications processed, with some paperwork sitting in queues since last fall, according to a 50-state survey by CQ Roll Call. […]

The waits are linked in part to the troubled rollout of the federal insurance website last fall. Alaska, Kansas, Maine and Michigan still are unable to receive applications their residents completed through the federal website. Others such as Georgia received applications submitted last fall in May. […]

The delays are caused by a mix of technical problems and a surge of applications, especially in states that cajoled their residents to sign up for newly expanded benefits. More than 900,000 Californians are waiting for their benefit cards or denial letters, say state officials. In Illinois, another 330,000 people are in limbo. In North Carolina, it’s 285,884, plus another 12,956 applications that may include more than one person.

These delays are in both states that took Medicaid expansion and those that didn't, but had the "woodworker" effect—people discovering they were already eligible for the program when they signed up for insurance. Some of the states, all Republican, are disputing the number of people that the federal government determined were eligible: "Indiana approved only 5 percent of the applications, Texas approved 17 percent and North Carolina approved 19 percent."

It's a travesty that nearly 5 million people who should be eligible are left out because of the refusal by Republican state leaders to take the Medicaid expansion. But having nearly 3 million in limbo—qualified but not being able to use it—is nearly as bad.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 11:30 AM PDT.

Also republished by Obamacare Saves Lives and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (24+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 11:30:39 AM PDT

  •  How much easier it would have been just to (3+ / 0-)

    automatically enrolled all those folks in Medicare.

    Next time some leader proposes we make great compromises in advance as a goodwill gesture to the Republicans lets, "just say no!"

    Even if we would have ended up at the same place, we could know say, "told you so, for the advantages of single-payer."

    And then also made it clear that this Obamacare model we ended up with, was modeled after Romneycare and was originally a Republican model. Now any problem with it allows the GOP to say "see what happens when you listen to Democrats."

    No matter how far one goes to meet the Republicans half-way, they will always immediately, head of and run as far as they can to the right.  

    So next time we have a big compromise we need to do with them let's let Senator Bernie Sanders start the negotiations by asking "What would Karl Marx do?" Then maybe after some weeping and gnashing of teeth, we can end up with a compromise that has their name on it too.  (humor by exaggeration alert.)  

    Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

    by HoundDog on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 12:18:26 PM PDT

    •  I'm no expert, but at 67, I have experience with (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      howabout, worldlotus

      Medicare, and I have a disabled friend on Medicaid. His Medicaid pays better and is much simpler. The only downside is that some physicians won't accept Medicaid patients, so he's been forced into a public/university health system. On the other hand, I've been with him to his appointments and he's had excellent (mostly young) physicians and (I believe) excellent care.

      All of this leads me to think that people who qualify for Medicaid should get Medicaid.

      "Portion of the adolescent prisoners in solitary on Rikers Island who have been diagnosed with a mental illness: 7/10." Tell someone.

      by RJDixon74135 on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 05:56:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "All republican" says it all. They hate the ACA & (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doinaheckuvanutjob, howabout

    they hate the poor, so what else did you expect?

  •  "No. Just wait." Problem's in blue states too. The (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jck, howabout, BentLiberal

    only difference is that the blue states aren't actively trying to undermine it. My county in CA is behind, long wait. I'm in the queue, asked to wait, wait, wait. How long? I asked the county worker just a couple days ago, (county is responsible for processing the Medicaid aps): "I don't know, but there's about 9,000 applications ahead of yours." I said, "I read you're processing about 500-1000 applications a month. So it will be 18 to 9 months for me to wait for you to process it." "Oh, no! It won't be that long." "How long, then?" "I don't know"

    They do have more money in the county system now and she reassured me that they had hired many new employees just to process the aps. But it really bugged me that she won't give me a ballpark time frame. Who likes that? I asked her if there was anything I could do to get it processed faster, she said no, so I said, "I'm just supposed to sit here and wait, right, wait and wait and wait." "Oh no, sir, it's not like that." "Yes it is.

    I don't fault the county or anyone for this, and am glad for the opportunity to get medicaid without all the pitfalls that used to exist. But the publicity in the newspaper, giant 4 page ad with nice photos, said enrollment would take 5 minutes, no waits. I don't want to complain because it just adds fuel for the ignorant and idiotic and haughty to slur Obamacare, which is far better than what we had before Obamacare, but I'm also frustrated about this process. Oh, this worker I called is the first human I've spoken to about my ap in a year. I did give up on a community clinic that gave me the runaround repeatedly in person: "We can't give you an appointment to enroll in MediCaid until you're in the MediCaid system." Huh? "You're supposed to be able to process aps, right?" "Yes, but no sir, not until your ap's in the system" "But your clinic is listed as one of the places to process aps" "I'm sorry sir I can't schedule an appointment." BTW, I had already filled out my ap online so there should have been no excuses. I'm not at strangling point, but I am close to screaming point.

  •  Cant you just hear the Republican glee? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jck, howabout

    Everyday millions go without healthcare, is another day somebody's gonna die from something that healthcare access might have prevented.

    We KNOW that lack of access to healthcare kills and the GOP banks on this fact.

    Republicans are so happy they can hardly count.

    Repubs aren't nerds making mistakes.

    Even if you think they are.

    Legal means "good".
    [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

    by xxdr zombiexx on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 05:23:03 PM PDT

  •  Just to clarify (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    howabout, worldlotus

    and this may be a stupid question.  Does that mean that all or most of those folks are actually unable to access Medicaid covered care?  Some states may have presumptive eligibility.

    •  Unclear. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It depends whether providers are willing to treat you now and work out the paperwork later -- and whether once people's paperwork has been processed, the coverage is retroactive to the date of application, as it should be, or only begins on the first of the month following the processed approval.

      But when people don't know if they have coverage, they tend to avoid incurring bills -- which means not going to the doctor.

      This is unconscionable.

  •  California gained 800,000 extra Medi-Cal patients, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...that came out of the woodwork. The state must pay 100% of the costs of patients who were qualified pre-ACA, so Governor Brown has allocated an additional $1.2 billion to the program in the state budget.

    This almost completely ate up a recent windfall of rising sales tax revenue, and may have contributed to the Governor's decision not to fund some children's health programs that have been idle since the 2009 budget cuts.

    Now I'm wondering if the backlog in others states is due to the application processing being overwhelmed, or if the states are deliberately slowing things down to keep their 2014 budgets from getting slammed too hard.

    They say that Medi-Cal will be covering close to one-third of California's population next year... that's a good argument for pressing forward to single-payer.

    “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
    he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

    by jjohnjj on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 05:48:21 PM PDT

  •  We got kicked over to Medicaid without any notice (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    howabout, BentLiberal, AlexDrew

    or request on our part. After spending 4 months to sort out paperwork problems with Covered CA, I called because we were still getting bills from the duplicate account that we cancelled, but no bills from the account we kept. I found out we apparently qualified for Medicaid and they automatically moved us in. We don't have a card and my wife has to now change doctors.

    This shit plays right into the Republicans' hands.

  •  I worry that after the administrative kinks are (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BentLiberal, AlexDrew

    straightened out, we'll find that we simply don't have enough physicians. There are a lot of disincentives for a young person thinking of going into medicine, especially the high front-end cost and the length of time required to pay off student debt while working for a corporate-owned clinic. I'm thrilled that we got Obamacare passed, but it doesn't do much to address some serious systemic problems in our health care system.

    Qualified young people willing to become physicians should get a lot more federal financial assistance. Even Elizabeth Warren's lower-cost loan proposals would help.

    "Portion of the adolescent prisoners in solitary on Rikers Island who have been diagnosed with a mental illness: 7/10." Tell someone.

    by RJDixon74135 on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 06:08:49 PM PDT

  •  The Kansas problems.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    howabout, BentLiberal

    Are linked with significant IT turnover problems and issues with KanCare connectivity to anything, as these applications don't just apply to medicaid but to a lot of the KanCare recipient new applications which are in a stall.

    They are 'working on it'.

    Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

    by Chris Reeves on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 06:20:11 PM PDT

  •  I want to say to those who are having trouble in (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Michigan-Keep trying!

    I have helped at least 20 people get expanded medicaid, including myself.

    Every application was turned down at least once, when I knew these people qualified. I would argue with case workers who did not know or pretended not to know what the qualifications are under the new law.

    I was already getting Medicaid and received a letter saying it was canceled. I reapplied four times before I was accepted!

    All of the people I helped now have medicaid except one, and that is pending.

    It seems to me that here in Michigan the policy is to turn people down and hope they give up.

    So keep trying, do not take no for an answer!

  •  I'm in California. (0+ / 0-)

    We mailed in my partner's application for Medical/Medicaid in mid-December (tried to apply on-line, but the website said our ZIP code was not in California every time we tried for months).  He finally received a Medical card a couple of weeks ago.  That's a 5 month processing time in Los Angeles County.

    A camel can carry a lot of gold, but it still eats alfalfa.

    by oldliberal on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 08:57:05 PM PDT

  •  Please help (0+ / 0-)

    Please help us and tell Governor (of Alabama) Bentley to expand Medicaid.  Here’s his contact number 334-242-7100 or fax 334-353-0004.

  •  Where is legal services when we need them? (0+ / 0-)

    IMO one of the most damaging things the Reaganauts did was to destroy federal funding for legal services offices, restrict them from filing class action suits, etc. etc.

    Many of the issues plaguing the poor would be easier to address if there were still a cadre of committed anti-poverty lawyers ready to jump in with class action suits. It didn't solve everything, but it often shifted the balance of power dramatically. And it educated the judges, especially on the federal bench, on the impact of all sorts of laws and practices on the lives of poor and working-class people.

    Instead, we're trying to fight fifteen separate forest fires with a couple of water pistols.

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