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Lisa Smith (R) helps uninsured Danielle Winters (L) and her 7-month-old grandson Tyler, who is on medicare, sign up for the Affordable Care Act, or
It's a relief to get covered—and a relief not available to many in states like Texas and Mississippi.
Obamacare's Medicaid expansion is bringing relief to a lot of people who've struggled without health insurance for years—at least in states where Republican lawmakers haven't blocked it. That means the coming years will see fewer cases like these, in West Virginia, where 75,000 have already enrolled in Medicaid:
One patient, a coal truck driver in his 30s with diabetes, came in for treatment whenever he was insured, which was not often. Last summer, he had a stroke after a stretch when he had no coverage; he now walks with a cane and cannot drive. Another patient, a woman with diabetes, is now legally blind because she could not find an endocrinologist who would treat her, or a lab that would run tests, without insurance, Ms. Justice said.
And for people like Sharon Mills, a disabled nurse with Type 1 diabetes who has suffered renal failure thanks to irregular access to medication, the sheer relief of having Medicaid has already been life-changing; she says "The heavy thing that was pressing on me is gone" and:
Last week, Ms. Mills used her Medicaid number for the first time to fill a prescription. It was a Wednesday, and she walked into Walmart feeling good.

“Now I’ve got insurance,” she said, “and I’m waving that piece of paper all over the place.”

Others, she said, seemed to have the same idea, judging by the line at the pharmacy. “It was plumb over to the pet department!”

That relief, and that ability to line up for a prescription, won't be found in Medicaid gap states like Texas and Florida, of course, and it will affect millions.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 07:09 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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