NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Obamacare Verification Muddling Medicaid

June 23, 2014

The Obama administration has hailed increased Medicaid enrollment as one of Obamacare's successes, but many state officials say the numbers are faulty, write Josh Archambault, Director of Health Care Policy at the Pioneer Institute, and Nic Horton, research analyst at the Foundation for Government Accountability.

Of the 6 million new enrollees in Medicaid, it is not clear that all are actually eligible for the program. Some states have begun removing ineligible individuals from the Medicaid rolls who were able to enroll due to problems with the federal government's exchange website.

Last July, the Obama administration announced that it was delaying the ACA's income verification requirements. Instead of being required to provide proof of income which would indicate a person's eligibility for Medicaid, applicants could self-report their income on the honor system.  The federal government subsequently provided this eligibility information to the states.

  • In Texas, Jason Hawkins, who earns $50,000 per year and has a family of three, is ineligible for Medicaid under the law. However, allowed him to sign up. Texas state officials have said that the federal government gave them a list of individuals allegedly eligible for Medicaid which even included people who did not live in the state.
  • The federal government gave Florida information on thousands of Florida residents that the government determined was eligible for the Medicaid program, based on applications. Florida officials discovered that the data included many individuals who were not, in fact, eligible, as well as duplicate applications.
  • Arkansas has had to remove almost 5,000 new enrollees from its Medicaid program due to errors in the federal government's list of eligible applicants.

Medicaid is supposed to be a safety net for the most vulnerable, and the program does not have unlimited funds. Without income verification, the federal government is allowing ineligible Americans to enroll in the program, taking tax dollars with them and hurting those whom the program is actually intended to help.

Source: Josh Archambault and Nic Horton, "Federal Bungling of Obamacare Verification Creating Nationwide Chaos in Medicaid Departments," Forbes, June 12, 2014.


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