Medicaid Expansion Has Enrolled Twice As Many Able-Bodied Adults as Projected

Higher than expected enrollment is crowding out resources for the truly needy

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January 21, 2018

Medicaid expansion has enrolled twice as many able-bodied adults as what was originally projected, according to a report from the Foundation for Government Accountability.

The group has been tracking Obamacare's Medicaid expansion since the program's implementation and found that one year into expansion, states exceeded their projections by an average of 61 percent.

"By the end of 2016, states had enrolled more than twice as many able-bodied adults than they said would ever enroll," the report states. "To date, more than 12.7 million able-bodied adults are now dependent on Medicaid as a result of 31 states' decisions to expand Obamacare."

As a result of higher than expected enrollment in Medicaid, resources are now being crowded out for the truly needy who can benefit from the program. The report finds that there are roughly 650,000 Americans who are on Medicaid waiting lists.

Because states that have expanded Medicaid underestimated potential enrollment, the report says it is likely that other states that haven't expanded Medicaid yet would experience similar high rates of enrollment.

"States have already enrolled 55 percent more able-bodied adults than the Kaiser Family Foundation projected would sign up by 2022," the report states.

Based on these projections, the study projects that 11.4 million more able-bodied adults would be dependent on Medicaid if the non-expansion states decided to expand. This additional expansion would also cost taxpayers more than $676 billion.

"Congress should repeal Obamacare expansion's enhanced funding for all states including current expansion states," the report states. "After all, every single dollar spent on Obamacare's Medicaid expansion is a dollar that cannot be spent on the truly needy."

Nicholas Horton, research director and author of the report, says that Obamacare's expansion has trapped millions of able-bodied adults in welfare, wasted billions of taxpayer dollars, and put the truly needy at risk.

"States that have rejected expansion should be proud—they have saved themselves from this nightmare," Horton said. "But states that did expand Obamacare have some work to do. They need pursue commonsense solutions to unwind this failed program, like work requirements and enrollment freezes, while Congress should immediately stop new expansions in order to reduce dependency and prioritize the truly needy."

Published under: Medicaid