Obamacare Medicaid Enrollment Outpacing Private Insurance
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) According to data published by the Kaiser Family Foundation regarding Obamacare state marketplace statistics, 523,973 of 1,360,231 people who have completed applications have been determined to be eligible for Medicaid or CHIP.
220,225 of those have selected a private insurance plan. The remaining approximately 600,000 people who have completed an application do not have a status attached.
FamiliesUSA, a nonprofit consumer healthcare group, lauds the increase in Medicaid enrollment. The organization has been an advocate for the Affordable Care Act. The group views the additional enrollment as a positive for the country.
But others differ. Some think there will be negative effects to the budgets and physician access. Others think the negative effects will be minimal.
Peter R. Kongstvedt, M.D, a renowned authority on the health-care industry, believes that budgets already take into account the Medicaid expansion. But he said provider access problems will increase regardless of Medicaid or new commercial coverage, though obviously more for Medicaid.
"There won't be fewer doctors, just more demand on those already serving Medicaid recipients," he said. "This will be offset by the recent spree of physician practice acquisitions by hospitals because the hospitals will have their employed physicians seeing as many patients as possible and they will participate with Medicaid."
To boot, more gross revenue in the system will ease some pressures and stimulate more spending.
"When money flows, people and organizations bring out their buckets to scoop some up for themselves," Kongstvedt said.
Scott Harrington, a professor of healthcare management and the director of the Risk and Insurance Program at the Wharton School minimized the importance of this.
"Early data suggests more people are enrolling in Medicaid," he said. Nonetheless he does not see it as a terrible problem.
But others think there will be a problem. They think it will put a strain on governmental budgets. This is confirmed by a report of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT).
This report states that the "ACA will increase the number of people enrolled in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) by more than estimated previouslyfor example, by 13 million in 2023 rather than 12 million."
The CBO and JCT report continued: "That increase in projected enrollment stems primarily from our expectation that more potentially newly eligible Medicaid beneficiaries will be residents of states that fully extend Medicaid coverage under the ACA (encompassing people with income up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level). Because of the higher projected enrollment, the costs for Medicaid and CHIP are now expected to be $74 billion greater over the 20142023 period than previously estimated."
Ed Haislmaier, a fellow in health policy studies at the Heritage Foundation, is one of those in the problem camp. He noted a prior news report that the first person to enroll in the Connecticut was a white, middle class, law school student about 30 years old, who qualified for Medicaid because he had no income as a graduate student.