During the first full year of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, spending for Medicaid soared because of increased enrollment. Across the country during the 2015 fiscal year, spending on the federal government's social health care program for low-income people and families increased on average of 13.9 percent, according to a report released Thursday from the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health policy non-profit located in California.
Other factors that led to the increase were higher provider rates and the general increasing cost of health care, the report, which surveyed Medicaid directors in all 50 states as well as Washington, D.C. Enrollment in Medicaid increased far more in the 29 states that expanded Medicaid under Obamacare, as the law has been nicknamed, compared the to 22 states that chose not to expand it.
Enrollment increased 18 percent in expansion states, while non-expansion states only saw a 5.1 percent growth in enrollment, the report said. Spending in expansion states grew 17.7 percent, while spending on Medicaid in non-expansion states grew by only 6.1 percent.
States can choose to expand Medicaid through Obamacare. The expansion is allowed for adults who have incomes up to 138 percent of the poverty level — which for a family of four would be about $33,000 a year, according to the Hill.
In the states that participated in the program, millions of people signed up for Medicaid. Adults who were considered able-bodies and who did not have children weren’t eligible for Medicaid before Obamacare, according to NPR.
Medicaid enrollment and spending rates will likely slow in the 2016 fiscal year. On average, enrollment is projected to increase 4 percent and total spending will increase by 6.9 percent.
— Bloomberg Business (@business) October 16, 2015
States that decided not to accept the Obamacare expansion are mostly led by Republic governors who opposed President Barack Obama’s initiative. Some 32.3 million people were thought to be uninsured in the country as of 2014.