The Agenda

Overstating the Success of the Medicaid Expansion

The emerging consensus on the first months of the Affordable Care Act is that while the implementation of the exchanges has gone poorly by any reasonable standard, and that while cancelations of individual insurance policies have greatly exceeded expectations, the Medicaid expansion has been fairly successful, considering that a large numbers of states have refused to participate in it. But Sean Trende gives reason to doubt this consensus view. The Obama administration has observed that as many as 4 million people have signed up for Medicaid coverage in recent months, a success they’ve attributed to Obamacare. Trende suggests that most of the Medicaid enrollment we’ve seen would have occurred even in the absence of the new health law, in part because a large share of new Medicaid enrollees are in states that chose not to accept the Medicaid expansion, but also because the expansion states tend to be states that already had relatively expansive Medicaid eligibility. By comparing Medicaid enrollment across states before and after the ACA entered the picture, Trende estimates the impact of the expansion. Of the 4 million new Medicaid sign-ups, he (tentatively) suggests that only 380,000 are directly attributable to the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.

Reihan Salam is executive editor of National Review and a National Review Institute policy fellow.

Most Popular

Film & TV

Netflix Debuts Its Obama Manifesto

This week’s widespread media blitz heralding Netflix’s broadcast of its first Obama-endorsed presentation, American Factory, was more than synchronicity. It felt as though U.S. publicists and journalists collectively exhaled their relief at finally regaining the bully pulpit. Reviews of American Factory, a ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Capital versus Tucker Carlson

Advertisers do not advertise on Tucker Carlson’s show to endorse the views of Tucker Carlson. They advertise on his show for the same reason they advertise elsewhere: a captive audience — in Tucker’s case, the second-largest one in cable news — might spare thirty seconds of attention that will, they hope, ... Read More

Is AOC Politically Powerful?

I recently watched two voices I respect disagree vehemently about whether Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is politically powerful or not. The first observer pointed out that she’s one of 435 House members and 235 House Democrats. She can introduce big pieces of legislation like the Green New Deal, but they’re not ... Read More

Jussie Smollett Jokes Declared Off-Limits

The Jussie Smollett story has been declared not fit for jokes. "It's a straight-up tragedy," declares the co-creator of a Comedy Central show, South Side, set in Chicago. Bashir Salahuddin, a former Jimmy Fallon writer, says “The whole situation is unfortunate. Particularly for the city, there’s bigger ... Read More