Up to 100 million Americans will soon be enrolled in Medicaid, according to an enrollment monitoring project by the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA), a think tank focused on welfare and health care policy.
On Dec. 28, FGA announced it believes that the number of Americans enrolled with Medicaid will cross the 100 million mark in about 76 days, or approximately March 14. The Naples, Florida-based think tank also launched a countdown clock for the date they project Medicaid enrollment to hit 100 million.
According to Medicaid.gov data, through August 2022, some 90,550,412 individuals were enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
FGA compiled more recent state-by-state Medicaid enrollment figures showing 96.2 million Americans are now enrolled in the government health care program. Based on the state-by-state growth trends, FGA projects 98.9 million Americans will be enrolled in Medicaid by the end of January and another 1.1 million Americans will be enrolled in the program by mid-March.
FGA Warns of ‘Grim’ Medicaid Milestone
“For years, FGA has been warning about the rising number of people on government welfare programs,” said Hayden Dublois, the data and analytics director for FGA.
“Now, we’re nearing a grim milestone—nearly one-third of the country will be on Medicaid. Our research and data show as welfare enrollment increases, workforce participation decreases. We’re in the midst of a nationwide workforce crisis, yet the Biden administration is pushing policies to entice people into government dependency at record levels while limiting opportunities to achieve the American Dream.”
According to the FGA, the rise in Medicaid enrollment is due in large part to federal COVID-19 public health emergency policies, like the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The pandemic-era measures provide states with extra Medicaid funding but block states from being able to change their eligibility and enrollment procedures and require that everyone currently enrolled in the program remain in place.
FGA estimates that an additional 24 million enrollees are on Medicaid as a result of the pandemic-era measures, including more than 21 million people who would have previously been disqualified from the health care program.
$1.7 Trillion Omnibus Lets States Change Medicaid Enrollment After April 1
While pandemic-era federal policies locked states in with their current Medicaid enrollments, the $1.7 trillion federal omnibus bill to fund government provision allows states to redetermine Medicaid eligibility starting on April 1.
“While there are many concerning provisions in this omnibus spending bill, we’re optimistic states may soon regain control of their Medicaid programs and reverse two years of unchecked enrollment growth,” said FGA President and CEO Tarren Bragdon.
“FGA has championed Medicaid reform to combat the devasting impact pandemic-era policies have had on the American economy and workforce. If this provision is enacted, states must step up and start redeterminations as soon as possible—our struggling economy and weakened workforce depend on it.”
While the omnibus allows states to resume their Medicaid eligibility checks, the provision also means that millions of people could soon be kicked off the government health care program.
“This is a positive for states in terms of planning, however, this will come at the cost of some individuals losing their health care,” Massey Whorley, a principal at health consulting firm Avalere, told The Associated Press.
The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) estimates between 5.3 million and 14.2 million Medicaid recipients could be disenrolled after the pandemic-era continuous enrollment requirement ends on April 1.
Robin Rudowitz, the director of Medicaid at KFF, advised Medicaid recipients to make sure their contact information is up to date on their accounts and check their mail frequently for any notices of changes to their Medicaid eligibility.
“There is likely to be people who fall through the cracks,” Rudowitz told The Associated Press.