Under the expansion of the Affordable Care Act there are 11.5 million able-bodied adults who are enrolled in Medicaid, more than double what was originally projected, according to a report from the Foundation for Government Accountability.
In April 2015, the foundation began tracking the 24 states that expanded Medicaid. The states projected that only 5.5 million adults would enroll.
“Newly-obtained data from these 24 states shows that at least 11.5 million able-bodied adults have now enrolled in Obamacare expansion—an overrun of 110 percent or more than double projections,” the report said. “Some states have signed up more than four times as many able-bodied adults as they said would ever enroll.”
The states that have expanded Medicaid since that time—Alaska, Indiana, Louisiana, and Montana—have all enrolled more able-bodied adults than projected.
Alaska projected that 20,000 adults would sign up at a cost of $145 million. With enrollment being greater than expected, costs have run $60 million over the budget.
Montana projected that only 18,600 adults would sign up, and within five months 47,000 adults enrolled, an increase of 153 percent.
According to the report, the states’ share of Medicaid expansion costs will increase to 5 percent in January 2017 and rise to 10 percent by 2020.
There is concern that the costs of Medicaid expansion will take up large parts of state budgets, taking taxpayer dollars away from other sectors such as education and infrastructure.
“The enrollment explosion will soon unleash a fiscal crisis,” the foundation says. “As a result, funding for the truly needy, education, infrastructure, and public safety are now at direct risk.”
Additionally, the foundation is concerned that more able-bodied adult signups will take away funding from truly needy individuals.
“Medicaid expansion already makes welfare for able-bodied adults a higher priority than services for the nearly 600,000 seniors, children with developmental disabilities, individuals with brain injuries, and other vulnerable individuals currently languishing on waiting lists for needed Medicaid services,” the report states. “Mounting overruns will soon exacerbate pressure on policymakers to shift even more money away from the truly needy and towards Obamacare’s able-bodied adults.”
In response to the report, a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says that the expansion has had positive benefits.
“The evidence is clear that Medicaid expansion has had major positive health and economic benefits for citizens and states,” said spokesman Aaron Albright.