Study puts new Medicaid enrollment under Obamacare at fewer than 2 million
February 5th, 2014
06:31 PM ET
7 months ago

Study puts new Medicaid enrollment under Obamacare at fewer than 2 million

(CNN) - Just a fraction of the more than 6 million people the Obama administration has touted as being determined eligible for Medicaid under Obamacare are new enrollees, according to an independent study released Wednesday.

The new study, published by the health advisory company Avalere, estimates that between 1.1 and 1.8 million people are newly enrolled in Medicaid thanks to the Affordable Care Act over the final three months of 2013.

While federal officials have frequently cited increased Medicaid enrollment as an example of Obamacare's success, they have been unable to report how many of those enrollees would have been eligible for the government program without the law's expanded eligibility requirements.

"Three million people have signed up for private plans in the Marketplace and more than 6 million learned they were eligible for Medicaid and CHIP, including new determinations in states expanding coverage as well as those made based on prior law and renewals," Health and Human Services spokeswoman Joanne Peters said.

When citing the latest enrollment figures, federal officials are often careful to note that the government's Medicaid figures include both new enrollments and renewals, but that hasn't stopped President Obama from using the combined figure as evidence of the law's effectiveness.

"Already, because of the Affordable Care Act, more than 3 million Americans under age 26 have gained coverage under their parents' plans," Obama said in his State of the Union address last month. "More than 9 million Americans have signed up for private health insurance or Medicaid coverage."

An HHS official confirmed that 6 million refers to the number of people who have been determined eligible for Medicaid since open enrollment began on October 1, not how many people have gained coverage they didn't have before.

"You really have to go through all the footnotes and all the qualifiers," said health law expert and Washington and Lee University law professor Timothy Jost on the search for more precise data.

"It isn't 6 million people who are new but there are a lot of new people. They're mostly in the expansion states and the number would be a lot higher if states like Florida and Texas, who have high numbers of uninsured, had gotten into the [Medicaid expansion] program."

Avalere found that roughly 75 percent of new Medicaid enrollment occurred in the states that chose to expand the program as allowed under the new law. To date, 25 states plus the District of Columbia have chosen to expand Medicaid eligibility.

By comparing the number of Medicaid applications over the first three months of Obamacare's open-enrollment period to the number of applications over the prior three months, Avalere found that on average the number of Medicaid applications increased by 12 percent. In states that expanded their Medicaid program, applications increased by 19.

In non-expansion states, "we're going to see a lot of people finding out they're too poor to get health care," Jost said, adding that the Medicaid enrollment numbers are still likely to "grow rather quickly."

One reason is that unlike with private insurance, Medicaid applications are accepted year round.

"If the increased rate of enrollment continues, we could see Medicaid rolls grow substantially throughout 2014," said Avalere Executive Vice President Matt Eyles in a statement accompanying the study.


Filed under: Medicaid • Obamacare • President Obama
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. love344

    CNN..you are on the wrong side of history with this GOP agenda

    February 5, 2014 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  2. Tampa Tim

    Red states have really denied their voters a chance to be insured under Medicaid by refusing government tax dollars. It is red state governors and elected republicans in congress who are destroying health care.

    February 5, 2014 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  3. tom l

    Hey Sniffit,
    I'm wondering if there will be an article about all of the people going to doctor's offices with the "we don't accept insurance through ACA" signs that are propping up. Those doctors ate probably just bigots that can't stand to see a black man as president.

    February 5, 2014 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  4. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    The GOP continues their misinformation bs campaign to discredit obamacare and Medicare and soc sec and ANY other social program that they can't pocket money from like the criminal govenor SCOTT from Florida who should be in jail for fraud!!!!!

    February 5, 2014 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  5. tom l

    I think that Tampa Timmy must work for the administration. He loves to throw out false numbers too. My fave I how he keeps saying that under Bush we lost 8 million jobs in 2008. Anyone care to check that stat he keeps lying, errrrrrrrr, was "misinformed" about?

    February 5, 2014 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  6. Thomas

    And that is good ?

    February 5, 2014 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  7. Rick McDaniel

    You already KNEW Obama's numbers didn't add up.

    NOW look at how maby people were added to Medicaid since October 1........to see what is REALLY happening.

    February 5, 2014 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  8. HenryMiller

    "While federal officials have frequently cited increased Medicaid enrollment as an example of Obamacare's success..."

    Only vote-buying Democrats could call it a "success" to make 2 million deadbeats dependent on government handouts.

    February 5, 2014 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  9. HenryMiller

    "You really have to go through all the footnotes and all the qualifiers,"

    In other words, unless you "go through all the footnotes and all the qualifiers," Obama and the Obama administration are lying for all they're worth to cover up how thorough a failure Obamacare is.

    February 5, 2014 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  10. Donna

    And yet more lies from this deceitful Obama administration come to light. Is it any wonder that 60% of the American people don't trust Obama? Lie, after lie, after lie. And another 3 years worth of lies to come.

    February 5, 2014 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  11. Harold Read

    How about the millions that lost their policies?
    "You can keep your policy. Period."

    How many millions of jobs will be lost to Obamacare?

    Train-wreck when it was launched, train-wreck now, train-wreck for the future.

    February 5, 2014 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  12. Jeff Tartt

    So what this is telling all the Lefties out there is,O b a m a is lying again,PERIOD!

    February 5, 2014 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  13. Gurgyl

    I know a lot of people enrolled in Federal-govt. Health-Exchange. Say it is cheap.

    February 6, 2014 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  14. Dean

    Obamacare is a scam and I'm sick of reading about it. Just get rid of it.

    February 6, 2014 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  15. Nameksrhy

    Where's the story about the million two jobs being cut the part-time. Per the unbiased CBO

    February 6, 2014 07:54 am at 7:54 am |