Medicaid enrollment is expected to hit the 100 million mark soon, according to a new report.
The milestone will likely be reached within the next 75 days, a new project from the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) revealed.
“For years, FGA has been warning about the rising number of people on government welfare programs. Now, we’re nearing a grim milestone — nearly one-third of the country will be on Medicaid,” said Hayden Dublois, FGA Data and Analytics Director.
As Americans count down to the new New Year, we have our eye on another countdown…
100 million individuals on Medicaid in 75 days. This is unsustainable, and the clock is ticking.
SEE IT IN REALTIME: https://t.co/Y2tR94L2ac #medicaid #health #work pic.twitter.com/w8jCftjpCw
— The FGA (@TheFGA) December 29, 2022
“Our research and data show as welfare enrollment increases, workforce participation decreases. We’re in the midst of a nationwide workforce crisis, yet the Biden administration is pushing policies to entice people into government dependency at record levels while limiting opportunities to achieve the America Dream,” he added.
The non-profit group explained in a press release that the rapid growth in enrollment is primarily due to the federal government’s continued extension of the COVID-19 public health emergency. While the emergency is in effect, states receive extra Medicaid funding on the condition that everyone enrolled remains locked into the program.
The program has added an additional 24 million Americans to Medicaid, the FGA stated. This number includes more than 21 million people otherwise unable to qualify because they earn too much money or are otherwise ineligible.
“The pandemic-era policy keeping more than 21 million ineligible enrollees on Medicaid is costing taxpayers more than $16 billion per month. Despite the recently enacted legislation allowing states to redetermine eligibility beginning in April, the Biden administration is slow walking the process and hoping states will be sluggish to act,” Dublois said in the press release.
“In approximately 76 days, 100 million people will be on Medicaid. States should begin preparing now so that they can remove the millions of ineligible enrollees and reclaim program integrity as quickly as possible,” he concluded.
As of November, 39 states and Washington, D.C., have adopted Medicaid expansion that allows additional low-income people to qualify. In addition, the American Rescue Plan Act offered additional incentives in 2021 for even more expansion.
The Biden administration has highlighted Medicaid expansion as a major reason for the nation’s uninsured rate falling to a record low of 8% this year. Approximately 5.2 million people – including 4.1 million adults ages 18-64 and 1 million children ages 0-17 – have gained health coverage since 2020, according to an August report by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHS).
The agency noted in its full report that administrative data from late 2021 and early 2022 “show a record-high number of people with coverage related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – with more than 35 million people estimated to be enrolled in the Medicaid expansion, Basic Health Program, or Marketplace coverage.”
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) of 2020 required states, starting in March 2020, to suspend Medicaid eligibility terminations and maintain coverage for nearly all existing enrollees, in order to receive a 6.2% increase in their Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP). The report stated that the continuous coverage requirement was the “primary driver” behind Medicaid growth during the pandemic.