Unemployment Directly Responsible for Medicaid Enrollment, Says Kaiser

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A new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation demonstrates distressing evidence that employment losses—and the subsequent loss of healthcare benefits tied to those jobs—has directly related in a nearly 20 percent increase in the number of Medicaid subscribers.

From June 2007 to June 2010, more than 8 million Americans were added to Medicaid rolls, raising costs $51 billion in that same time period. Medicaid, Kaiser says, was also the only thing keeping the total number of uninsured Americans fewer than the 49 million people who were uninsured in 2010.

“Our analysis finds that increases in Medicaid spending growth from 2007 to 2010 were largely due to enrollment growth,” says the report summary. “This enrollment growth occurred primarily due to the deepening recession, the federal protections against eligibility restrictions and additional federal funding, and decisions to expand Medicaid eligibility in some states.

“In fact, largely because of broad coverage for children in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the number of uninsured children fell slightly during the economic downturn,” the report reads.