FACT CHECK: Does Medicaid Cover A Third Of All Californians?

Kush Desai | Fact Check Reporter

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein claimed that Medicaid “covers 1 in 3 Californians, including children, seniors in nursing homes and those with disabilities” in a Thursday tweet.

Verdict: True

The data support Feinstein’s claim that one-third of Californians receive health coverage through Medicaid.

Fact Check:

Medicaid, first introduced in the 1960s, is a welfare program in which the federal government provides funds to state governments to provide health care coverage for low-income individuals and families. States then decide their own further eligibility criteria for Medicaid coverage. (In contrast, Medicare is a federally funded and administered health care program for retirees; all Americans must contribute to the program through payroll taxes for eligibility.)

California has more people on Medicaid than any other state. The Kaiser Family Foundation, a health policy think tank, estimates that 12,213,234 Californians were enrolled in Medicaid programs in June 2017. This includes enrollees in the traditional Medicaid program as well as in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), a federally funded program to provide coverage for uninsured families with children.

The California state government estimates a total population of 39,524,000 Californians as of January 2017, 12,213,234 of which were enrolled in Medicaid programs as of June 2017.

These numbers hold up to Feinstein’s claim; Medicaid covers 30.9 percent or roughly a third of California’s population.

Medicaid has not always covered this much of California.

The state aggressively took advantage of Obamacare provisions that allocated additional federal funding for states to expand Medicaid and thus provide coverage for more uninsured low-income people. The number of Californians on Medicaid in June 2017 was 57.5 percent greater than the monthly average number of Californians on Medicaid before Obamacare – the tenth largest post-Obamacare percent increase of any U.S. state.

Feinstein’s claim that one-third of Californians are covered by Medicaid is true.

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Kush Desai

Fact Check Reporter