Gov. Matt Bevin has issued an executive order that would strip Medicaid coverage from nearly half a million Kentuckians should his proposed overhaul of the federal-state health plan be struck down in court.
No one has filed a legal challenge to Bevin's changes to Kentucky's Medicaid program that federal authorities approved Friday.
But several advocacy groups have said some of the changes — such as requiring some "able-bodied" adults to work or volunteer at least 20 hours a week — likely will be challenged in court because they violate federal law that establishes Medicaid purely as a health program and does not authorize work requirements.
With the big news this week about CMS giving work requirements the green light and Kentucky immediately jumping all over it, I decided to look up a few data points from some expansion states which don't include a work requirement for the heck of it:
*UPDATE: Some have accused me of hyperbole in the headline because a) it's a "state-approved health or financial literacy" course, not a "can you read" test and b) because it would only be required if they're unable to meet the requirements in other ways. I guess I can see their point, but it strikes me as splitting hairs:
First, "literacy course" was their wording, not mine (I guess there's a distinction between "completeing a course" and "passing a test"?).
Second, there doesn't appear to be any real description of the "courses" in question--how long it is, what the criteria for measuring "completion" is, who would be conducting the course, whether you'd have to attend classes in person (vs doing so online?), how many sessions there'd be and so forth. Here's the description as laid out in the waiver request itself:
I used to track the monthly Medicaid/CHIP enrollment reports issued by CMS, watching as the numbersrosedramatically thanks to ACA Medicaid expansion.
I pretty much stopped doing that about a year ago, however, since the expansion numbers have mostly petered out. ACA Medicaid expansion actually has continued to climb a bit more since January, and is likely somewhere around 16 million people as of now, but it's also been partly cancelled out by a slight drop in standard Medicaid enrollment as the economy has continued to improve in general. In short, there's little reason to keep writing the same update every month.
As health care debate simmers, Mead laments lack of Medicaid expansion in Wyoming
Gov. Matt Mead lamented the $100 million that Wyoming left on the table by choosing not to expand Medicaid, and he expressed concern for the state’s hospitals while discussing health care with the Star-Tribune recently.
Mead echoed some of the fears that many Wyoming hospital officials have expressed for months: that congressional proposals to overhaul the health care system may have negative effects on facilities here and that the state has suffered because it chose not to allow more people to qualify for Medicaid.
“The idea that we did not accept Medicaid expansion and things are going to be good just hasn’t turned out,” he said.
As regular readers know, I've been a bit obsessive about tracking down and breaking out ACA Medicaid expansion enrollee numbers. This is more difficult than it sounds, because most Medicaid reports lump expansion enrollees in with the other ~58 million or so Medicaid enrollees; only a handful of states issue separate reports of the expansion-specific population on a regular basis.
Back in late November, I cobbled together the data as best as I could and came up with a total of roughly 11.3 million people nationally. However, that included a lot of 2-year old data and rough estimates.
A couple of weeks later, I stumbled upon a detailed analysis from an anti-ACA financial watchdog organization, the Foundation for Government Accountability, which provided hard numbers and confirmable data source links which included more recent numbers for many states. This brought the total up to over 12.3 million.
Of the 31 states which have expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, only a handful issue regular monthly or weekly enrollment reports.
Back on February 28th I noted that ACA Medicaid expansion enrollment across three states (Michigan, Louisiana and Pennsylvania) had grown by about 35,000 people since mid-January, to 667K, 406K and 716K people respectively.
Today, a month later, I decided to take another look at all three states, along with Minnesota (which I forgot to check last month). Sure enough, enrollment has continued to grow in all four, albeit at a slower pace:
While this project has received high praise as a useful resource, one problem with it is that the numbers aren't static--between the high churn rate of the individual market and Medicaid, as well as the fact there's no limited enrollment period for Medicaid (you can sign up year-round), the enrollment figures are constantly changing.
Case in point: As of the beginning of January, roughly 640,000 Michiganders were enrolled in "Healthy Michigan", our name for ACA Medicaid expansion. By the end of January, that number had increased to just over 646,000.
For the most part, Republican Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has taken a fairly hands-off approach when it comes to both the Affordable Care Act and Donald Trump. He pushed for both Medicaid expansion and a state-based ACA exchange, but while he managed to get the former through the GOP-controlled state legislature (albeit 3 months late and with a few conservative trimmings), he failed on the latter front, and pretty much shrugged it off after that. Since then, Michigan's implementation of ACA Medicaid expansion has quietly been pretty damned successful, with 646,000 Michiganders (strike that...it's now up to 666,000!) enrolled in the program...over 6.5% of the entire state's population. Beyond that, however, Snyder has been fairly quiet about the ACA overall to my knowledge.
The last official ACA Medicaid expansion enrollment number I have recorded for Indiana (via their modified "Healthy Indiana 2.0" program) was 290,000 people way back in July 2015. At the time, the maximum potential HIP 2.0 enrollment total was 680,000 Hoosiers, made up of 350,000 newly covered plus another 330,000 being transferred over from the HIP 1.0 program.
This NPR article from a couple of weeks ago states that as of January, "the Healthy Indiana Plan that he established in 2015 as the state's governor has brought Medicaid coverage to more than 350,000 people." However, that number is a bit confusing given that they were also supposedly transferring the other 330K over from the other program as well. I'm not sure if 350K refers to total HIP 2.0 enrollment or only those who were previously uninsured.
Over 700,000 Additional Pennsylvanians Enrolled in Governor Wolf’s Medicaid Expansion Plan
February 02, 2017
Harrisburg, PA – In February of 2015, Governor Wolf expanded Medicaid to ensure that Pennsylvanians can receive affordable, straightforward, accessible healthcare without unnecessary delays and confusion. Today, Governor Wolf announced that over 700,000 Pennsylvanians have enrolled in HealthChoices, Pennsylvania’s mandatory managed care Medicaid program, since expansion occurred two years ago. U.S. Census data shows that the commonwealth’s uninsured rate has dropped from 10.2 percent in 2010 to 6.4 percent in 2015.
OK, this appears to be quickly turning into my next project thing. The methodology here is pretty much the same as the other states; the only major difference is that while I do know the total Medicaid enrollment for each county (as of December 2016), I don't have that broken out between traditional and expanded Medicaid. Fortunately, I have a hard state-wide number for that: Around 398,000, or roughly 20.8% of the state-wide total. I've therefore multiplied each county number by 20.8% to get a rough estimate of the ACA expansion tally for each.
Like Texas, I'm also no longer expecting Arizona to beat last year's Open Enrollment total by much. Assuming 209K QHP selections, there should be around 125K indy market enrollees and 399K Medicaid expansion enrollees who'll be in a world of hurt post-repeal, or roughly 524,000 altogether.