By Brian Blase and Aaron Yelowitz
States cover millions who exceed income thresholds, some quite well-heeled.
ObamaCare wasn’t supposed to give free health insurance to everybody. The Affordable Care Act’s authors expected the poor would enroll in Medicaid, while those with higher incomes would buy coverage through the new insurance exchanges, with subsidies that decrease as income rises.
It isn’t working. A study published this week by the National Bureau of Economic Research finds that in several Medicaid-expansion states most people who gained coverage have enrolled in Medicaid regardless of their income. In practice, ObamaCare has turned Medicaid into an entitlement program for the middle class.
Using data from U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the authors assessed coverage changes from 2012-17 in nine states that expanded Medicaid vs. 12 states that didn’t. They uncovered a huge problem. In 2017 alone, in those nine states, “around 800,000 individuals . . . appeared to gain Medicaid coverage for which they were seemingly income-ineligible.”
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