AP NewsBreak: Glitch in Obama's health care law

By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR | June 21, 2011 | 1:00 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Government number-crunchers say President Barack Obama's health care law would let several million middle-class people get nearly free coverage by making them eligible for the Medicaid program for the poor.

The result was discovered by Medicare officials who make long-range cost estimates, after the law was signed.

It would affect about 3 million early retirees. A married couple with an annual income of $64,000 could still get Medicaid. That's because starting in 2014, their Social Security benefits would no longer count as income.

The administration and Democratic lawmakers say it's a well-meaning effort to simplify rules. States want relief from Medicaid costs, a top issue in the White House budget talks with Congress.