Amid a heated debate between the White House and conservatives over how much credit Obamacare can take for enrolling people in Medicaid, a new analysis has an answer: up to 1.8 million.
The White House has touted a bigger number, 6.3 million, which included people who were just renewing their enrollment. Critics said that was misleading; the law can only take credit for those who enrolled because their state expanded the program's eligibility or who were never enrolled but had now after the big sign-up push that accompanied Obamacare's launch.
Avalere Health, an independent consulting firm, estimated that between 1.1 and 1.8 million people have enrolled in Medicaid because of Obamacare. They either qualified through the law's expansion of the program, which 25 states adopted, or because they were already eligible but hadn't enrolled until Obamacare enrollment started on Oct. 1.
The 25 states that expanded Medicaid under Obamacare have, as expected, enrolled many more Americans in the program than those that didn't. Using the 1.8 million estimate, the expanding states signed up 1.3 million people, while the 25 non-expanding states enrolled 500,000.
“The data illustrate early upticks in Medicaid enrollment, skewing toward expansion states, as we would expect,” Caroline Pearson, vice president of Avalere Health, said in a statement.
Avalere attempted to parse the numbers and decipher how many of the 6.3 million should be credited to Obamacare. The full methodology is available here, but the starting point was comparing the monthly number of applications filed since October with the number of applications filed per month before Obamacare launched.