Is Medicaid becoming a de facto public option? According to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey, an additional 3.7 million Americans swelled the ranks of Americans using Medicaid for their health insurance 2009. The whopping 48.5 million Americans on Medicaid in 2009 is only slightly less than the 50.7 million Americans without health insurance.
It’s an increase of 8.2 percent in the number of Americans receiving Medicaid from 2008 to 2009 whch was matched by an increase of 8.8 percent in Medicaid spending. Medicaid now provides health insurance coverage for approximately 1 in 6 Americans. Although all of the states had increases in enrollment in 2009, the states of Nevada and Wisconsin showed particularly sharp increases of more than 20%.
Although the states have been managing the increased Medicaid spending with help from the federal government, many worry that as healthcare reform expands Medicaid eligibility in 2014 to include able-bodied adults with incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty level, it will strain the federal and state budgets beyond feasability. Even without expanded Medicaid eligibility, states have turned cutting benefits or provider payments in order to maintain their budgets.
Have you turned to Medicaid during the economic downturn? Tell us about it!
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