Analysis Finds Medicaid Seeing Largest Single-Year Enrollment Jump
Medicaid enrollment increased by more than three million in the 12-month period ending in June 2009, expanding the program's roster to a record 46.8 million beneficiaries, according to an analysis released Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Washington Post reports (Goldstein, Washington Post, 2/19).
Driven largely by job losses from the recession, the increase is the largest single-year jump in enrollment for Medicaid (Wayne, CQ Today, 2/18).
The analysis found that:
- Medicaid enrollment increased in every state for the first time since the early 1990s (Wolf, USA Today, 2/18);
- Every state reported that Medicaid enrollment in the current fiscal year is exceeding expectations, prompting discussion of mid-year budget cuts; and
- Enrollment increased by at least 10% in 13 states (Sack/Pear, New York Times, 2/18);
State Medicaid directors say that despite signs of economic improvement, demand for public health insurance coverage remains high (Washington Post, 2/19).
Moreover, enrollment in the subsequent 12-month period might continue to increase because Medicaid enrollment often lags behind unemployment (New York Times, 2/18).
Families USA Report Predicts State Cuts
Separately, Families USA released a released a study on Thursday indicating that at least 30 states are considering Medicaid cuts for the fiscal year that begins in July 2010 if the federal government does not extend funding increased for state Medicaid programs included in the 2009 economic stimulus package.
In a conference call with reporters, Families USA Executive Director Ron Pollack said that if states "don't believe this extension is likely, it is clearly likely we are going to see cutbacks in the Medicaid program." Pollack estimated that state cuts to Medicaid programs could result in at least one million people losing coverage nationwide (CQ Today, 2/18).
President Obama included the Medicaid funding extension in his budget proposal for fiscal year 2011.
The House included a funding extension in the jobs bill lawmakers approved in December, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) dropped a corresponding provision from jobs legislation that the Senate is scheduled to take up next week.
According to CQ Today, the funding extension could be added to legislation later in the year or in a conference committee on the jobs bill (CQ Today, 2/18).
Issue Will Weigh on NGA Meeting
Concerns about rising health care costs are likely to dominate the winter meeting of the National Governors Association, slated to begin in Washington, D.C., on Saturday.Obama administration officials are calling on governors to come out in favor of the president's health care proposals, or at the bare minimum, refrain from criticizing them (New York Times, 2/19). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.