Thursday, June 28, 2012

How Many Americans are Below 133% of the Federal Poverty Level?

I promise this will be my last constitution/healthcare relevant post today...

A portion of the healthcare law that was loosened by the Supreme Court revolved around Medicaid.  The Supreme court ruled that the Federal government could not withhold funding to States that choose not to increase the scope of their Medicaid programs to include all those who have income below 133% of the Federal Poverty Limit (FPL).  Below is a chart of the population of the US broken down relative to the poverty limit.

The chart includes buckets up to 138% of FPL.  There are 88m Americans below that level.  The current non-elderly Medicaid population is 45m, implying that if all states adopt the expanded Medicaid limits the medicaid population could increase by 30-40m people.  Currently Medicaid spend is about $4000 per covered per year.  On the low end, an incremental 30m people would cost $120B per year at that rate.  State and Local governments have combined budgets of $2.1T per year, so $120B would be ~5% increase in spending.

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