More have insurance

Let’s see how the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare is going:

As health care coverage under the new law sputters to life, it is already having a profound effect on the lives of poor Americans. Enrollment in private insurance plans has been sluggish, but sign-ups for Medicaid, the federal insurance program for the poor, have surged in many states. Here in West Virginia, which has some of the shortest life spans and highest poverty rates in the country, the strength of the demand has surprised officials, with more than 75,000 people enrolling in Medicaid.

While many people who have signed up so far for private insurance through the new insurance exchanges had some kind of health care coverage before, recent studies have found, most of the people getting coverage under the Medicaid expansion were previously uninsured. In West Virginia, where the Democratic governor agreed to expand Medicaid eligibility, the number of uninsured people in the state has been reduced by about a third.

Going to the link, we find:

For example, about 370,000 people were found eligible for Medicaid or CHIP last month in four states that have not expanded Medicaid: Florida (165,000), North Carolina (59,000), Pennsylvania (72,500) and South Carolina (73,300).

Imagine how many they would be getting if they had expanded Medicaid. What’s the total number?

Instead, I concluded that the actual grand total number is closer to well over 6 million, when you include all enrollments: Federal exchange-based; State exchange-based; Direct enrollments via the regular state Medicaid offices; special/one-time automatic transfers of people from existing state-level healthcare programs (such as LIHP in California and Commonwealth Care in Massachusetts), and more recent Medicaid enrollment data which has come over the 3 weeks since the 12/28 date cut-off in the HHS report.

Many of these people might not be new or might have been eligible so all of this might not be due to Obamacare directly, but:

We still don’t know for sure how many of these represent new enrollments vs. re-enrollments, but the higher number makes it pretty likely that a very large chunk of this 6.2 million are new enrollees. Anecdotal evidence backs this up, and preliminary figures from the states that break out new enrollees separately suggest that roughly two-thirds of total signups are new enrollees.

Even if it’s lower than that, the number or new enrollments is in the millions, which is a very good thing.

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