The increase in people going on Medicaid is draining the budgets of several states….
Another problem apparently Donald Trump is ignoring that affects other Americans and hurting state ‘s…Like Nevada….
By the most recent count, the roster of Nevadans on Medicaid has climbed from fewer than 644,000 in February, the month before the state reported its first case of covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, to about 731,000 through August.
That 13.5 percent increase places Nevada among at least three states, along with Kentucky and Minnesota, where the cadre of people on Medicaid has spiked that much, including families, like the Chapins, who have never before asked for government help. But increases are widespread: Caseloads had risen on average 8.4 percent through July in 30 states for which researchers have enrollment information. And in 14 states with enrollment data through August, the average is 10 percent.
If the past is a guide, this is merely the beginning.
During the Great Recession from late 2007 to mid-2009 and previous bad economic spells in the history of Medicaid, Americans have turned to the program more gradually than to unemployment benefits, food stamps and other aid for people sliding out of comfortable lives. Medicaid is insurance for the poor that is a shared responsibility of the federal government and states, begun as a pillar of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society expansion of government help of the 1960s.
“We believe Nevada has not yet seen the full impact as a result of the covid pandemic,” said the state’s Medicaid director, Suzanne Bierman, echoing expectations elsewhere of experts on the social safety net.
With Nevada’s tourism-fueled economy stalled, the unemployment rate soared to 30.1 percent in April, the highest ever recorded for any state in any month.
“You can pick just about any adjective you like to describe just how unprecedented the numbers are, and you wouldn’t be exaggerating,” said David Schmidt, chief economist for the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.
“When all the casinos had to close all at once by the end of March, 95 percent of our members were off work, so it was a complete wipeout,” said Bobbette Bond, director of public policy for the Culinary Health Fund, which provides insurance to about half the cooks and dishwashers, porters and housekeepers and other unionized casino workers. The fund is covering unemployed members for another month.
Some casinos’ lights are back on, but fewer than one-third of workers have returned to their jobs, Bond said, and some have too few hours to qualify for their old health benefits. Even Nevada’s most recent reported unemployment rate — 14 percent for July — is higher than the nationwide rate at the Great Recession’s worst….