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Elderly couple holding hands in autumn park. Photo taken on: October 14th, 2012

Here's just one example of the individual hurt Republicans are inflicting on the nation's low-income citizens through Medicaid refusal: this couple is divorcing for the sake of Medicaid coverage.
Larry and Linda Drain were happily married for more than 33 years. The only reason they’re now living apart is because they have no other way to ensure that Linda can get the medical care she needs for her epilepsy—thanks to their lawmakers’ decision to resist implementing Obamacare.

As the Tennessean reports, the couple decided to separate this fall because their household income puts them above the threshold for Tennessee’s public insurance program, called TennCare. Since Tennessee has refused to accept Obamacare’s optional Medicaid expansion, the Drains fall into what’s known as the coverage gap: They make too much money to qualify for TennCare, but they make too little to receive federal subsidies to buy a plan on Obamacare’s new private marketplace. […]

So Linda has gone to desperate lengths to remain eligible for TennCare. She split from her husband to avoid hitting the monthly household income limit and sometimes stays in a homeless shelter in Knoxville. Meanwhile, Larry continues to live in the apartment that they once shared together. The couple doesn’t see each other every day anymore, and they miss each other’s company. “A thousand little things have been ripped away from us. Little things that people do,” Larry told the Tennessean.

Larry retired early, at age 62 and his Social Security payment puts the couple over the extremely stingy $1,102 monthly limit Tennessee has for Medicaid coverage. The situation has compelled Larry to write a letter every day to Gov. Bill Haslam (R). Forty-four letters later, he has yet to hear from Haslam.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 01:48 PM PDT.

Also republished by Three Star Kossacks and Daily Kos.

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