Skip to Content
medicaid work requirements

Faulty Data Led to Underestimations of Medicaid Expansion Enrollment, New Study Finds

Naples, FL — A combination of bad data and bad assumptions about key eligibility factors led states to grossly underestimate just how many able-bodied adults would become eligible under ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion, a new Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) study finds.

The study shows that states relied on Census Bureau data to project expansion enrollment numbers for able-bodied adults. Federal Medicaid rules, however, have much different definitions for households, income, and poverty thresholds. 

Census data significantly undercounts the number of people with income below 138 percent of the federal poverty level for purposes of determining Medicaid eligibility. As a result, the actual number of able-bodied adults made eligible for Medicaid expansion could be more than 72 percent higher than Census data suggests. Medicaid expansion is already more than double what states projected. 

“States used bad data and poor assumptions to justify expanding Medicaid to able-bodied adults, despite Medicaid programs already being pushed to their limits. Now, with more able-bodied adults enrolled than states ever even expected to be eligible, they’re paying the price with cost overruns and threatening resources for the truly needy,” said Jonathan Ingram, vice president of policy and research at FGA and co-author of the paper. “States that have avoided Medicaid expansion should continue to do so, especially in light of this new data.”

The full paper can be read here.


The Foundation for Government Accountability is a non-profit, multi-state think tank that specializes in health care, welfare, and work reform. To learn more, visit

At FGA, we don’t just talk about changing policy—we make it happen.

By partnering with FGA through a gift, you can create more policy change that returns America to a country where entrepreneurship thrives, personal responsibility is rewarded, and paychecks replace welfare checks.