Report: Able-bodied adults becoming Medicaid dependents in record numbers

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Americans enrolled in Medicaid are increasing by the millions, according to a report from the Foundation for Government Accountability, which says that between 2000 and 2017, 21 million more “able bodied” adults are using the program.

The Washington Free Beacon reports that in 2000, 34 million Americans were enrolled in the Medicaid program, 7 million of them able-bodied adults. “Now that number has quadrupled to 28 million able-bodied adults on the program,” the report states, with an estimated 75 million Americans likely to take advantage of the program next year. The growth is being attributed to a rise in able-bodied adults applying for the program.

From the Beacon:

The report attributes skyrocketing Medicaid enrollment over the last two decades to states increasing eligibility for able-bodied adults and Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, which added millions of able-bodied adults to the program.

Unlike other welfare programs that have work requirements to stay in the program, the report says that Medicaid enrollees are not held to the same standard.

In their report, the Foundation for Government Accountability recounts that Medicaid was “designed as a safety net for the truly vulnerable,” using the elderly and people with disabilities as examples. The exclusion of work requirements in the program’s foundation was due to that demographic, who were generally not of working age or had limited work capacity.

“Over time, the program has grown to cover new groups, changing the fabric of the program and creating new challenges for policymakers and enrollees alike,” the report says.

According to their findings, the foundation reports that of those enrolled in Medicaid:

  • 16 percent work full-time for the duration of the year,
  • 52 percent do not work at all, and
  • 32 percent work part-time, or for part of the year.

“Despite the fact that Medicaid’s able-bodied adults have no physical disabilities keeping them from pursuing gainful employment, very few actually work full-time jobs,” the report states. “According to the Census Bureau, most non-disabled adults on Medicaid do not work at all.”

Medicaid spending is expected to reach $633 billion next year, an increase of 207 percent from 2000.

“The implications of this Medicaid explosion are clear: Fewer dollars are available for truly vulnerable individuals who depend on the Medicaid program to survive,” the report states. “Fewer dollars are available for important budget priorities like infrastructure, law enforcement, and education. Taxpayers are on the hook for an ever-increasing bill, with no end in sight.”

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