As President Obama's administration works to fix the problems plaguing the federal Health Insurance Marketplace's website, states implementing their own health insurance exchanges are reporting both successes and glitches. California, Connecticut, Kentucky, New York and Washington have all seen "robust enrollment" since the October 1 launch, with California reporting nearly 80,000 individuals signing up in the first month. However, Colorado and Oregon are reporting low enrollment and website issues respectively.
With states given the option of expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, healthcare systems in states that chose not to expand the program are suddenly facing severe budget cuts. Since June, hospitals around the country have laid off around 5,000 employees. For example, Cleveland Clinic offered early retirement to 3,000 employees and is anticipating a $330 million budget cut in 2014. The US Health and Human Services Department is placing blame for the layoffs and cuts squarely on those governors who chose not to expand Medicaid.
Even without a Medicaid expansion, South Carolina is offering an interesting case study whereby state officials expect the number of their Medicaid enrollees to rise by 16 percent over the next 18 months. The reason? The amount of publicity in conjunction with the Affordable Care Act has educated those already eligible for Medicaid but never enrolled — a segment of the population state health officials are now actively pursuing. Other states, such as Utah and Idaho, also expect a double-digit increase in Medicaid enrollees. No word yet on how this will offset or exacerbate budget cuts now plaguing healthcare facilities in those states.