Friday, June 10, 2011

One in Five Americans Receive Medicaid?

In a letter to Pres. Obama, Sen. Rockefeller and 36 other Senate Democrats wrote...
We are unwilling to allow the federal government to walk away from Medicaid’s 68 million beneficiaries, the providers that serve them and the urban and rural communities in which they live.

This was sent in response to the Republican proposal to turn Medicaid into a block grant program, which would end the Federal match for state Medicaid spending and distribute the Federal subsidy as a defined amount. It's an interesting debate, but what caught my attention was the "68 million beneficiaries."

According to this website, the current U.S. population estimate is approximately 311 million. If there are really 68 million Medicaid beneficiaries, that means approximately 21% of the U.S. population is currently receiving Medicaid benefits.

Huh?! One in five Americans are currently on Medicaid? Really?

I figured the Senate Democrats had to be exaggerating the number, so I did a search for the "real" number. That led me to this website, which says that as of May 2010 there are 48 million Medicare beneficiaries. Medicare and Medicaid are not the same thing. But I'm pretty sure there aren't as many Medicaid beneficiaries as there are for Medicare. So I kept searching.

And found this, posted at, which appears to be a division of the Department of Health and Human Services. It says that as of June 30, 2009, there were over 50 million Medicaid enrollees. Un. Bee. Lee. Vuh. Bull. That's 16% of U.S. population, or one in six.

So yeah, it looks like the Senate Democrats' number is wrong. But not by as much as I thought.

(via Peter Suderman via Insta.)