Although many people in the coverage gap are employed, they are less likely to have jobs that offer health insurance—this includes more than half a million essential workers. Many make too much money to be eligible for traditional Medicaid, but not enough to afford the cost of health insurance they purchase themselves. As an example, a single person in Texas who makes $10,000 a year doesn’t qualify for Medicaid, even though purchasing health insurance would cost more than half their salary.
Closing the Medicaid coverage gap is the single biggest action the country can take to reduce the number of uninsured. The refusal of some states to expand their Medicaid programs means that political considerations are being prioritized over healthcare, even in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic where health insurance can be the difference between life and death.