Medicaid Expansion Is Still Breaking Promises
- BY Sarah Coffey
Medicaid was intended to be a program for truly needy Americans. So how did we end up with a record-high 100 million Americans enrolled in the program?
In a new paper for FGA, Senior Research Fellow Jonathan Bain highlights how Medicaid expansion broke promises (both in terms of enrollment and costs) and leaves fewer resources for the truly needy, and why non-expansion states should avoid Medicaid expansion.
According to the paper, nearly one in three Americans are now enrolled in Medicaid. This is largely driven by the expansion of the Medicaid program to include able-bodied adults under ObamaCare in 39 states. Repeatedly, states that chose to expand to this group of individuals saw actual enrollments shatter projections. Initial estimates projected that just 6.5 million able-bodied adults would be enrolled. But actual enrollment was an astounding 19 million, 186 percent higher than state estimates.
The paper warns that should non-expansion states choose to expand, they too can count on such shattered projections to the tune of 13 million able-bodied adults.
Bain also points out how shattered projections also mean an explosion of costs. Expansion costs are soaring—in 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services estimated expansion would cost $3,200 per person. By 2018, that cost was nearly $6,100—and it’s still growing. Non-expansion states could expect nearly $800 billion in costs in the next 10 years if they choose to expand.
The worst part of it is that every dollar spent on an able-bodied adult—who has other options for coverage—is one that can’t be spent on the truly needy.
The bottom line? Lawmakers in non-expansion states should continue to stand strong against the broken promises of Medicaid.