- The Washington Times - Friday, August 8, 2014

Enrollment in Medicaid and the Chidren’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has surged with more than 7 million Americans signing up for the government-subsidized insurance under Obamacare, the administration announced Friday.

With 7.2 million new signups since President Obama’s health care law took effect in October, the rolls for Medicaid and CHIP swelled to 66 million people, said the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The new enrollees in the program for low-income Americans include uninsured people who gained coverage through traditional Medicaid, as well as a special Medicaid expansion in 26 of the 50 states under the Affordable Care Act.

The Obamacare expansion extends coverage to all Americans earning up to 133 percent of the federal poverty line, or $15,521 for an individual and $31,720 for a family of four.

Two dozen states, many led by Republicans opposed to Obamacare, have not expanded Medicaid coverage. HHS said 5.7 million low-income people remain uninsured in those states.

The 26 states that expanded Medicaid saw enrollment spike 18.5 percent. The states that snubbed the expansion recorded a 4 percent increase, said HHS.

The Medicaid expansion is a centerpiece of Obamacare, which also created an online marketplaces to provide federally subsidized private health insurance plans that have enrolled an additional 8 million people.

Open enrollment for private insurance ended in the spring. Medicaid enrollment remains open year-round.

The administration has been unable to say how many new enrollees obtained private or public coverage for the first time under Obamacare.

A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine estimated that 10.3 million uninsured Americans have gained coverage through the marketplaces and Medicaid, resulting in a 5.2 percentage point drop in the U.S. uninsured rate since last September.

The study was produced by researchers from HHS, the Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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