Politico reports that for many states that have opted for Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, enrollments are greatly surpassing original projections.

While this phenomena certainly indicates that the law is achieving its goal of expanding coverage, it means that expanding medical assistance to working, able-bodied adults only diverts resources away from the program’s most vulnerable patients. It also means that Medicaid will further crowd out other important state budget items such as education and transportation. And, as I’ve written before, coverage does not guarantee access to medical care.

Even in non-expansion states like North Carolina, Medicaid enrollment is rising at a faster rate due to the law’s promotion for individuals to #GetCovered. According to data from 2014, The American Action Forum estimates that more than 42,000 enrollees will tack on an additional $83 million to our state budget. Click here to gain more insight on these states’ “woodwork effect” – where previously eligible uninsured individuals are now enrolling in Medicaid:

The Congressional Budget Office addressed this phenomenon, stating that individuals who were eligible for Medicaid prior to the ACA, but never enrolled, would be drawn to sign up because of the individual mandate or because of increased publicity surrounding health care reform. This effect has been seen in other large scale expansions of public entitlement programs. For example, during the Massachusetts health reform effort in 2006, Medicaid enrollment increased by 16.3 percent among parents already eligible for the program.[1] Even though these individuals were already eligible for Medicaid, they did not participate in the program until a health care overhaul was implemented in the state. Just as in Massachusetts, early ACA estimates show an increase in the pre-ACA eligible population of roughly 6 percent.[2] 

Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 11.45.28 AM