- The Washington Times - Friday, November 1, 2013

In just the first month of Obamacare’s rollout, states are reporting a massive surge in the number of people signing up for Medicaid expansions versus the slow trickle of a few selecting the private insurer route — and health experts are shocked: What is going on?

“When we first saw the numbers, everyone’s eyes kind of bugged out,” said Matt Salo, head of the National Association of Medicaid Directors, in The Washington Post. “Of the people walking through the door, 90 percent are on Medicaid. We’re thinking, what planet is this happening on?”

In some jurisdictions, fully nine of 10 health care enrollees opt for Medicaid, the numbers reveal. And that’s sure to drive up Obamacare costs — which have already surged past projections — because supporters of the reform act didn’t anticipate that more would choose to enroll in an expensive entitlement program than in a privately-run insurance plan, The Washington Post reported. Rather, expectations were for a fairer balance, with half of enrollees choosing the Medicaid expansion and the other half, private companies.

The big question is how states will pay for the new Medicaid participants.

Still, some number crunchers are suggesting it’s not yet time to panic. The enrollment process is still in the early stages, they say, and once the glitches are worked out, more will select the private insurer route than the Medicaid expansion option, The Washington Post reported.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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