The U.S. Census recently announced that the number of Americans without health insurance in 2011 fell for the first time in three years, to 48.6 million. That’s a decrease of 1.3 million from the 2010 figure.
Sounds like good news. But a closer look at the data suggests that this drop is illusory. Even worse, the report shows that two onerous provisions of ObamaCare — the expansion of Medicaid and the requirement that insurers cover children on their parents’ policies through age 26 — are making health insurance more expensive and harder to obtain.
Thanks to ObamaCare, the federal government can now essentially dictate to state governments whom they must enroll in Medicaid, the jointly financed federal-state health care program for low-income Americans. Accordingly, the Census data show that the number of Americans covered by Medicaid rose to 50.8 million — up from 48.5 million in 2010. About 16.5% of all Americans are now enrolled in the program.
So the number of Americans with insurance increased by 1.3 million — but the number of people with government-provided insurance through Medicaid jumped by 2.3 million. In other words, a whole lot of people dropped their private coverage and went on the public dole.