Senate Republicans are starting to talk more about how their bill would fill the "coverage gap" in states that didn't expand Medicaid. That's what Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn was referring to yesterday when he said: "In my state alone, 600,000 low-income Texans will get access to private insurance which they don't currently have. That represents progress."
The back story: The "coverage gap" refers to the fact that more than 2.6 million low-income people can't get either Affordable Care Act subsidies or Medicaid coverage in non-expansion states. That's because they earn too much for Medicaid, but too little for the ACA tax credits. (The tax credits are available between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty line, because the assumption was that everyone below that would get expanded Medicaid).
What would change: The Senate bill changes the tax credits to be available at all income levels up to 350% of the poverty line — including those in the gap. Cornyn's office pointed David to this Kaiser Family Foundation report on the issue, which estimates that 684,000 Texans are in the coverage gap.
Yes, but: As we and others have noted, low-income people would still have to cover more costs on their own because of other changes in the bill.