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Health care ruling could leave poorest Americans at greatest risk

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United States
06/28/2012 09:57 PM
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Health care ruling could leave poorest Americans at greatest risk
Now that the Supreme Court has upheld President Barack Obama's health care initiative, will Congress have to rewrite it from scratch?
M. Alex Johnson M. Alex Johnson is a reporter for msnbc.com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

It's not a paradoxical question. The court signed off on nearly all of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but it struck down one provision, and in doing so whether it knew it or not it may have put the poorest Americans at the greatest risk of being left without any health insurance.

Chief Justice John Roberts said as part of the 5-4 decision that states can't be penalized for refusing to join the law's expansion of Medicaid eligibility.

Here's the problem: The ACA creates state health insurance "exchanges," providing tax credits to eligible residents to buy affordable, state-certified health insurance. But the poorest Americans aren't in that eligible pool, because the law assumes they'll be covered by the expansion of Medicaid, which is no longer a given.

[link to usnews.msnbc.msn.com]