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Millions On The Sidelines For Big Health Care Push

"I'm feeling a little embarrassed that I interpreted things the wrong way the first time," said Wilt, who signed up Friday for a midlevel "silver" plan for $150 per month, a price that reflects a $224 tax credit. "It just goes to show how confusing all this is."

There's a story for everyone who will remain on the sidelines of Obama's big enrollment push.

These are some of them:

___

THEY CAN'T GET IN

Richard Kelleher, long-term unemployed and uninsured, spent five months sorting through the confusion in Phoenix. He tried to sign up for a marketplace plan and then the state's newly expanded Medicaid program, getting shutdown online, at state offices and by phone. At the same time, he was piling up employment rejections.

Kelleher, 64, felt invisible.

On Friday he got a letter accepting him into Medicaid a¿¿ and an entry-level job offer the same day.

That puts his insurance situation in limbo for now. He thinks his earnings will end his Medicaid eligibility. But Kelleher says he's grateful for "an opportunity to at least be somewhere every day."

In Thomaston, Ga., it took Alan Thacker two weeks to get his answer online. It wasn't the one he wanted.

"I don't know how many expletives I hurled at the computer a¿¿ 'Why are they doing it this way? Morons!' and other choice words," he recalled.

Thacker, 43, works for $7.55 an hour at Burger King, not enough to qualify for a discount plan for himself and his wife through the federal marketplace. People who don't earn enough for the marketplaces plans were supposed to be eligible for expanded Medicaid.

But because Georgia declined to enlarge its Medicaid program, the Thackers can't get help there, either.

Thacker said he likes the law, only wishing it could reach everyone in need.

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