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Medicaid “You can expand Medicaid on the books, but there are a lot of ways that you can throw up barriers to keep people from getting enrolled,” says Saint Louis University’s Sidney Watson. (Image: Shutterstock)

Temp worker James Dickerson applied for Medicaid because it will be cheaper than his current health plan. Home health aide Sharon Coleman looks forward to having coverage that will cover a hospital stay. Incoming medical student Danielle Gaddis no longer worries a trip to the doctor will leave her in debt.

All three are among the roughly 490,000 people newly eligible for Medicaid after Oklahoma and Missouri voters in 2020 approved expanding the federal-state public health insurance program for people with low incomes. In both states, people who earn up to 138% of the federal poverty level — about $18,000 per year for an individual — can now get the free coverage even if they don’t have disabilities.

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