California and Others Failing to Reduce Medicaid Waiting List
Nearly 3 Million Still Waiting for Insurance Across the Country
(Washington, D.C.) – Months after the first year of enrollment concluded under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, nearly 3 million Americans are stuck in Medicaid backlogs – including nearly 1 million low-income California families who are still waiting for their applications to be processed. There is no timetable for solving the backlog, and California state officials profess to know little about its composition. "It's difficult to determine exactly who is in that 900,000 and for what reason," according to a spokesperson. With applicants uncertain about whether they are covered, many are delaying care – or showing up at crowded emergency rooms in urgent need. More than 2 million people have applied for the Medi-Cal program – significantly more than the state expected. Latinos made up the largest share of new Medi-Cal enrollees, outnumbering all other demographics, and are likely to compose a disproportionate share of the backlog.
Jorge Lima, Policy Director of The LIBRE Initiative, released the following statement:
"The American people and the people of California are paying through the nose for a new health care system that simply isn't working. For months now, nearly 1 million Californians have been waiting for the government to process their insurance applications – and as of today, no strategy to address the backlog has been initiated. Half of these applications are already beyond the legal deadline for action. This system is failing, and people are not getting the insurance they were promised, and for which they qualify.
Nearly 3 million American families are now facing the very problems that they were told this law would solve. They do not know if they are covered. They do not know when they will have an answer. They are delaying care. They are using emergency rooms that they cannot pay for. But now their situation is worse, because they are bearing the costs of a failed law."