ObamaCare: The great Medicaid expansion
Federal officials are trumpeting the high “demand” that ObamaCare’s health insurance exchanges are experiencing, but their celebration is misguided. What’s the point of the ObamaCare health insurance exchanges if the end result is to dump the majority of Americans covered under ObamaCare into Medicaid? The truth is that more than three-quarters of the newly insured next year...
Federal officials are trumpeting the high “demand” that ObamaCare’s health insurance exchanges are experiencing, but their celebration is misguided.
What’s the point of the ObamaCare health insurance exchanges if the end result is to dump the majority of Americans covered under ObamaCare into Medicaid?
The truth is that more than three-quarters of the newly insured next year will be enrolled in Medicaid. In states that have expanded their Medicaid eligibility under ObamaCare, all individuals and families under age 65 that have incomes up to 138 percent of the poverty level will be automatically enrolled in Medicaid. All others who would be otherwise uninsured (and do not have employer-sponsored that is both “qualified” and “affordable”) may participate in the exchange.
The Medicaid program is a fiscal time bomb in which patients routinely face obstacles to obtaining care in the program. In Illinois, where reimbursements are well below the national average, for example, about one-third of physicians do not accept Medicaid patients. Nationally, 30 percent of physicians are not accepting Medicaid patients. Frankly, you don’t need state exchanges, employer mandates, individual mandates and the long list of costly ObamaCare provisions to throw people onto the Medicaid rolls.
James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal highlights a case of someone being thrown into the Medicaid rolls:
“Meet Brendan Mahoney, the young man who is saving ObamaCare. He’s 30 years old, a third-year law student at the University of Connecticut. He’s actually been insured for the past three years–in 2011 and 2012 through a $2,400-a-year school-sponsored health plan, and this year through “a high-deductible, low-premium plan that cost about $39 a month through a UnitedHealthcare subsidiary.”
But he wanted to see what ObamaCare had to offer.
“So, how much of a premium is strapping young Brendan Mahoney paying to help make ObamaCare work? Oops. The Courant reports that Mahoney ‘said that by filling out the application online, he discovered he was eligible for Medicaid. So, beginning next year, he won’t pay any premium at all.’”
Back in 2010, the Congressional Budget Office predicted that about 45 percent of the newly covered Americans under ObamaCare would be put into Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program in 2014. Today, the prediction is a whopping 78 percent. In addition, the federal government revised down its projected number of those who would be newly insured under ObamaCare from 22 million down to 11 million.
Even though they are “insured,” Medicaid patients routinely face barriers to access. This is especially true in Illinois where the program’s reimbursements are well below the national average, payments arrive late and many doctors are no longer accepting Medicaid patients.
Taranto concludes by saying, “So the great success story of ObamaCare’s first day is the transformation of a future lawyer who was already paying for insurance into a welfare case.” Alas, that will likely be the legacy of the entire enterprise.
1 Other private health insurance includes Medicare supplemental coverage and individually-purchased plans, including coverage purchased through the Marketplace.