2018 MIDTERM ELECTION

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California: ACA Medicaid expansion up to either 2.2M or 2.55M!!

Hat Tip To: 
Eryn Brown, Chad Terhune

Another Big Number story today on top of the national and Illinois ones. My most recent numbers for California Medicaid expansion had it pegged at around 1.4 million "strict expansion" and around 600K "woodworkers" as of late June. However, that was just an estimate.

This article about a class action lawsuit being filed over the massive Medi-Cal backlog (down to 350K from a whopping 900K back in May) is mostly negative for obvious reasons. However, there's an interesting data point in the middle of it:

According to state officials, 2.2 million new Medi-Cal members were added as a result of the Obamacare healthcare expansion, bringing the total number of participants in the program to about 11 million.

State Department of Health Care Services spokesman Norman Williams said that as of Sept. 1, 350,000 applications remained backed up in the enrollment system. That system has been plagued by computer troubles that have stymied county government efforts to verify patients' Medi-Cal eligibility. 

The backlog was as large as 900,000 earlier in the summer.

I've checked with both the author, Eryn Brown, as well as her colleague Chad Terhune regarding two questions: First, does the 2.2 million figure include that 350K backlog, or is that in addition (making the eventual total an astonishing 2.55 million people); and second, whether the number includes "woodworkers" or if it's just people who are newly eligible.

Ms. Brown wasn't able to provide the answer to the first question definitively, but gave a breakdown of the second:

@charles_gaba @chadterhune I do not think the total includes backlogged applications but that would be something I'd have to double check.

— Eryn Brown (@LATerynbrown) September 18, 2014

@charles_gaba @chadterhune The 2.2 million total includes both newly and previously eligible; 1.5 million in the newly eligible group.

— Eryn Brown (@LATerynbrown) September 18, 2014

So, that's 1.5 million "strict expansion" and about 700,000 "woodworkers"...exactly 100K more for each than I already had, which makes sense as another couple of months have passed.

Think about that for a moment. More people who were already eligible for Medicaid have signed up for it thanks to the Affordable Care Act's outreach program than the entire population of Wyoming, Vermont or the District of Columbia.

And that's just assuming that the 350,000 backlog is included in this number. If that 350K is in addition, then once the backlog is cleared up (and assuming the ratios remain the same), that will mean another 111,000 woodworkers will be added, for 811,000 total (which would also be more than the populations of North Dakota or Alaska).

Astonishing.