The undeniable success story so far of Obamacare is Medicaid expansion. According to a new report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, more than 1.46 million people were approved for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program in October, alone. Enrollment increases are happening in the 25 states that have accepted the Medicaid expansion plan under Obamacare, but in the other states, as well.
In states that are not expanding Medicaid, applications to Medicaid and CHIP agencies increased 4.1 percent in October over the previous few months, and the total number of individuals determined to be eligible for Medicaid or CHIP was 697,019. In states that are expanding Medicaid, applications jumped 15.5 percent, and 757,991 new eligibility determinations were made. The overall total across all states was an 8.6 percent increase in applications and 1,460,367 new eligibility determinations.
South Carolina, a state that has adamantly refused to expand Medicaid, enrollments are expected to jump 16 percent in the next year and a half, and Utah and Idaho are expected to see similar increases, even though they have refused the expansion. That's just by virtue of people knowing they need to sign up for health insurance, and finding out that they meet the eligibility requirements.
There's still the Medicaid gap to deal with: the people in those states that are refusing expansion who make too much to qualify for existing Medicaid, but not enough to be able to shop on the exchange and get a subsidy there. That's a gap that wasn't in the original law, so thanks again Supreme Court, for leaving millions uninsured. But there is some good news at least for some of the nation's poorest people—and children!—now getting the help they need.