Medicaid Gap Means Young Homeless Go Without

Homeless young people without Medicaid coverage often navigate a maze of emergency rooms and clinics to get care they need as advocates try to get them covered under health care reform, The Denver Post reports.

"About 75 percent of the more than 3 million American adults who spent some part of the last year homeless have no insurance, according to the National Health Care for the Homeless Council. Under the radar of the town-hall shouting matches on health reform, advocates for the homeless are pushing to get them on the rolls of the insured."

"In Denver, only 18 percent of those who seek health care through the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless clinics are eligible for Medicaid or Medicare. That's because just being destitute isn't enough to qualify for Medicaid — a person also has to have a child or a disability."

"Homeless advocates want to end the requirement that people age 19 and older must have a child or a disability to qualify for Medicaid. Children are covered by Medicaid through age 18, then often lose coverage because they don't have a child or a disability."

A homeless advocacy group is pushing to include poor adults who make up to $21,000 in Medicaid under health care reform, though current reform proposals are significantly less than that (Brown, 8/20).

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