Medicaid

I somehow managed to completely miss the September Medicaid report released last month, but it turned out to be a virtual non-issue; there was a net increase of just 2,599 people enrolled in Medicaid nationally from the end of August through the end of September 2015.

In October, however, things picked up; while not nearly the half-million-plus-per-month that we saw during 2014 and the first half of this year as the bulk of ACA Medicaid expansion went into effect in most states, the total number of people enrolled in the program did still increase by a respectable 187,958 people month over month.

This has resulted in a net enrollment increase of over 13.5 million people since the ACA expansion program went into effect two years ago, and a grand total of 71.8 million enrolled in the program nationally.

A Twitter discussion with Andrew Sprung, along with my own prior grumbling about this issue, led me to actually compile the following list of just what "Medicaid" is actually called in each state.

Our discussion was specifically about some seemingly odd data he found in the U.S. Census Bureau's official healthcare coverage report released the other day; he was perplexed as to how come poor people seemed to increase their rate of private healthcare coverage while less-poor people increased their publicly-funded coverage, which seems rather backwards. In any event, one of the reasons noted by myself and "HotWxTakes" is that it's likely that a large number of those responding to the survey may have simply gotten confused as to whether their own coverage falls into the "private" or "public" category...most notably, confusion over "Medicaid". As I noted, "Medicaid" is operated at the state level, not federal, and is run under different names in different states, making some amount of confusion understandable.

Last year, GOP Governor Tom Corbett pushed through a poorly-conceived, overly-cumbersome "Republican alternative" Medicaid expansion program called Healthy PA, which didn't go into effect until late in the year. He was defeated by Democrat Tom Wolf, who vowed to scrap the "alternative" version and simply expand Medicaid to residents below 138% of the Federal Poverty Level, as the ACA had intended.

This transition was messy, but has now been completed...and is saving the people of Pennsylvania a boatload of money:

Department of Human Services Sec. Ted Dallas Tuesday announced the end of the transition from Healthy PA to traditional Medicaid expansion—known as HealthChoices in Pennsylvania—as the last of the expansion insurance plans took effect.

According to Sec. Dallas, 440,000 Pennsylvanians are enrolled in Medicaid expansion insurance plans with the last group of enrollees coming out of Healthy PA’s primary coverage options into Medicaid expansion.

“With that last group of folks moving over, the Medicaid expansion is now complete,” Sec. Dallas told reporters.

Twenty-seven Alaskans were approved for benefits under Medicaid expansion Tuesday, the first day of the broadened health care program, the state Department of Health and Social Services announced Wednesday.

According to state officials, about 40,000 people are potentially eligible for the expansion program, although as Xpostfactoid pointed out a month or so ago, the Kaiser Family Foundation has a much lower estimate (more like 11,000).

Either way, the actual number enrolled or in the process is quite a bit higher than just 27...

In addition to today's announcement that there's been a net gain of 13.1 million Medicaid enrollees since ACA expansion launched in January 2014, the CMS Dept. also made another announcement which should improve those numbers further, while also streamlining the enrollment and renewal process considerably:

The CMS Dept. has quietly released their latest monthly Medicaid/CHIP enrollment report through the end of June...which happens to line up almost perfectly with what I was expecting:

  • Nearly 72 million individuals were enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP in June 2015. This enrollment count is point-in-time (on the last day of the month) and includes all enrollees in the Medicaid and CHIP programs who are receiving a comprehensive benefit package.
  • 292,112 additional people were enrolled in June 2015 as compared to May 2015 in the 51 states that reported comparable May and April 2015 data.
  • Looking at the additional enrollment since October 2013 when the initial Marketplace open enrollment period began, among the 49 states reporting both May 2015 enrollment data and data from July-September of 2013, nearly 13.1 million additional individuals are enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP as of June 2015, almost a 22.7 percent increase over the average monthly enrollment for July through September of 2013. (Connecticut and Maine are not included in this count.)

This is a huge story which I should have been following, but a) I was on vacation the past couple of weeks, b) I can't cover everything healthcare-related, and c) it's really not directly related to the Affordable Care Act. Fortunately, the Arkansas Times' David Ramsey has been all over it, so I'll let him lay it out for you:

...all three members of the household were among almost 36,000 Arkansans who were kicked off of their health coverage on July 31. Insurance for another 13,000 people across the state will terminate at the end of this month. The cancellations are the result of a statewide sweep of Medicaid performed by the Arkansas Department of Human Services in an attempt to weed out those beneficiaries whose incomes are too high.

As I've noted before, "The Daily Signal" is a front site for the right-wing think-tank-turned-propaganda-machine Heritage Foundation.

In their latest bit of silliness, they've come up with a modified version of Sharyl "a stuck key on my computer means Obama is spying on me!" Attkisson's laughable butchering of math last year.

When Attkisson posted her phantom numbers, one of the biggest ways she came up with her phony tally of how many people have gained healthcare coverage was to simply ignore Medicaid expansion completely. Apparently Medicaid "doesn't count" as healthcare coverage for some reason or another (or perhaps it's the other way around: To conservatives, anyone who qualifies for Medicaid apparently "doesn't count" as a human being). As a result, she was able to lop off about 6.1 million newly enrolled Medicaid recipients at the time (this is now up to perhaps 10 million newly covered out of the 14.5 million or so who've been added to the Medicaid rolls since the ACA was enacted).

This time around, a "Melissa Quinn" has posted a 700-piece article which purports to blow the lid off the most shocking scandal of the decade:

Presented without comment. (thanks to Sahil Kapur for the link):

CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE
Keith Hall, Director
U.S. Congress
Washington, DC 20515

August 3, 2015

Honorable Mike Enzi
Chairman
Committee on the Budget
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Re: Budgetary Effects of S. 1881

Dear Mr. Chairman:

Last week, CBO provided the following information in response to a request for an estimate of the budgetary effects of S. 1881:

S. 1881, which would prohibit federal funds from being made available to Planned Parenthood Federation of America or any of its affiliates, could affect direct spending for the Medicaid program; however, CBO has not determined whether the legislation would increase or decrease the program’s spending. Completing an estimate of such effects would take some time.

The CMS Dept. has quietly released their latest monthly Medicaid/CHIP enrollment report through the end of May...which happens to line up almost perfectly with what I was expecting:

  • Over 71.6 million individuals were enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP in May 2015. This enrollment count is point-in-time (on the last day of the month) and includes all enrollees in the Medicaid and CHIP programs who are receiving a comprehensive benefit package.
  • 509,082 additional people were enrolled in May 2015 as compared to April 2015 in the 51 states that reported comparable May and April 2015 data.
  • Looking at the additional enrollment since October 2013 when the initial Marketplace open enrollment period began, among the 49 states reporting both May 2015 enrollment data and data from July-September of 2013, more than 12.8 million additional individuals are enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP as of May 2015, more than a 22 percent increase over the average monthly enrollment for July through September of 2013. (Connecticut and Maine are not included in this count.)

Pages