A Thanksgivikah Gift: Add another 650,000 to the ACA Medicaid Tally!!
NOTE: This was originally posted over at Daily Kos. I've since ported it over here for archival purposes.
Yes, that's right--thanks to new data out of West Virginia and clarified/confirmed data out of California, the ACASignups.netspreadsheet just saw the Medicaid/SCHIP expansion total nearly double, to nearly 1.4 million.
Specifically, this article in USA Today (provided by dKos member ybruti), which notes that WV authorities personally contacted 118,000 people deemed eligible for Medicaid expansion and have already enrolled over 54,000 of them.
Meanwhile, in California, the situation was a bit more confusing for awhile for me. A few weeks back, Rep. Lois Capps (CA-24) mentioned something about 600,000 people being added to Medicaid thanks to the ACA. I added them, then removed them because it turned out that those folks were "just" being shifted from an existing state-level program over to Medi-Cal (California's name for Medicaid), because I wasn't sure whether they should "count" or not.
However, since then, ybruti, who has done extensive research on the LIHP program in California and how this relates to the ACA, has convinced me that this 600K figure does, indeed belong in the ACASignups spreadsheet after all.
The final decision point came this morning when she provided this transcript of an interview with Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, where he mentions the 600,000 in the LIHP, the 135,000 Medicaid enrollees since Oct. 1, and the 80,000 who have chosen a private plan:
"Eighty thousand people have picked a health plan through Covered California. An additional 135,000 have enrolled in Medicaid. Their coverage will start on January 1. So over 200,000 people, about a month and a half in to a six-month open enrollment period, have realized their choices and are stepping up.
"Here in California, about another 600,000 will automatically be converted into the Medi-Cal program because they're in what's called the low-income health program. We've got 10,000 people every day signing up and applying for coverage...."
So, add the 600K LIHP transferees to the 135K who have signed up for Medicaid expansion on their own, and another 54K from West Virginia, on top of the existing private plan and Medicaid/SCHIP expansion enrollees and voila: The ACA has now enrolled a grand total of at least 1.6 Million people into decent healthcare plans nationwide.
While it would have been even better (from a PR and economic viability POV) for the private plan enrollment figure to shoot up like this, this is still a good thing for the overall stability of both the ACA and the health coverage of Americans in general.