Medicaid Enrollment Less than a Third of What the White House Claimed

by Andrew Johnson

Last month, the Obama administration said that 6.3 million Americans have been deemed eligible for Medicaid under Obamacare, but a new report from a health-care consulting firm shows that the enrollments attributable to the law are far short of what the White House has claimed. Avalere Health estimates that only 1.1 million to 1.8 million people nationwide signed up for Medicaid because of the Affordable Care Act between October and December, less than one-third of the enrollments for which the White House credited the law.

Nonetheless, since Obamacare’s exchanges started taking Medicaid applications on October 1, the 25 Medicaid-expansion states, as well as the District of Columbia, saw 19 percent more applications for the program than they had before Obamacare. If this rate continues under the expanded program, the firm says it could mean a significant growth in the program thanks to Obamacare’s expanding the eligibility requirements.

“Unlike the exchanges, where enrollment is generally closed after March, Medicaid applications are accepted year-round, so enrollees have additional months to enter into the program if eligible,” said one executive. “If the increased rate of enrollment continues, we could see Medicaid rolls grow substantially throughout 2014.”

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