A new interactive map by the Urban Institute displays the numbers of poor and low-income uninsured people across the U.S. who would be eligible for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act expansion.
For the Memphis/Bartlett/Collierville area, the map show 15,200 poor, uninsured people and 28,600 low-income, uninsured residents that would be eligible for Medicaid under an expansion. That's 23 percent and 44 percent of the uninsured population, respectively.
So far, Tennessee governor Bill Haslam has elected to not expand TennCare, the state's Medicaid program. But it isn't too late for him to take the federal government's offer to pay 100 percent of the cost of the expansion for the first three years. After that, the federal government would pay 90 percent of the cost in the next three years. Republican Representative Jeremy Durham of Franklin is sponsoring a bill in the Tennessee General Assembly that would require Haslam to get lawmakers' approval should he decide to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
The Affordable Care Act puts the decision to expand Medicaid coverage to non-elderly adults with incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty level in the hands of the states. In states, such as Tennessee, that choose not to expand, uninsured adults with incomes between 100 and 138 percent of the federal poverty level may qualify for subsidies to help them pay for an insurance plan offered through healthcare.gov, but those with incomes below poverty level do not have access to new coverage options. So far, 25 states and Washington, D.C. have opted to expand Medicaid.