States Report Medicaid enrollment increases; big insurers’ stocks are up

6336510146

One thing that’s been overlooked in the furor over problems at healthcare.gov is this: People who are eligible for Medicaid because of low income are getting health coverage. That was, after all, a big part of the plan.

“Some states are signing up tens of thousands of new Medicaid enrollees in the initial weeks of the health law’s rollout, while placing far fewer in private health insurance—a divergence that suggests Medicaid expansion may be a larger part of the law than expected,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

“In one sense, the Medicaid figures are good news for the Affordable Care Act’s advocates, who hoped the law would reduce the number of Americans without health insurance.

“But the predominance of Medicaid enrollees so far could also fuel criticism that the law will lead to a greater government grip on the health-care system, instead of leaving room for private health insurers to grow.”  States Report Medicaid Surge After Health-Law Rollout – Wall Street Journal – WSJ.com.

But before we get too concerned about the future of the private insurers, note this: Wall Street has offered lots of love to the big insurance companies in the past year, The New York Times reports.

“Over the last 12 months, shares of the top five publicly traded health insurance companies — Aetna, WellPoint, UnitedHealth Group, Humana and Cigna — have increased by an average of 32 percent, while the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index has risen by just 24 percent.” The Times story is here.