Trumpeting ObamaCare: The Medicaid factor
As the Obama administration trumpets a government survey showing a dramatic “decline” in the number of uninsured Americans — which supposedly is at its lowest level in 50 years — a closer look behind the curtain of this medicine show is warranted.
Marginally mentioned in all the hoopla is the corresponding increase in Medicaid patients between January 2014 and March 2015, stemming from states’ expansion of federally-funded medicine under ObamaCare. At 12 million people and growing, Medicaid enrollment is skyrocketing past some states’ expectations.
As the survey by the National Center for Health Statistics shows, the number of Americans without health insurance has dropped by 15.8 million since 2013. But the drop is steeper in states that expanded Medicaid. In those states, the percentage of uninsured adults, 18 to 64 years old, declined from 18.4 percent in 2013 to 10.6 percent in the first quarter of 2015.
“Most of this is Medicaid,” says Heritage Foundation health policy scholar Ed Haislmaier.
And ignoring Medicaid’s growing enrollment is disingenuous when Medicaid patients, unlike private insurance clients, have fewer treatment options or doctors from which to choose.
All this will become an especially bitter pill after 2016. That’s when the states get saddled with more of Medicaid’s tab.