Colorado’s Medicaid rolls have more than doubled since 2007, reaching a record high due primarily to job losses and other economic factors rather than eligibility changes, according to the Denver Post
. The newspaper reported Thursday that 614,146 Coloradans were on Medicaid in November of last year — a 58 percent increase over 2007 figures.
State health department officials attributed the bulk of the increase specifically to economic hard times rather than a broadening of Medicaid eligibility requirements that have already added thousands of new adults and children to the government health program in other states.
“We’ve had a mushrooming of clients,” the Post quoted Sue Birch, director of the state Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, as telling members of the Colorado legislature’s Joint Budget Committee. “This is an all-time historical high.”
According to the Post, Birch warned the lawmakers the rolls would likely grow much larger in coming years even if the economy improves.
“Medicaid doesn’t typically go back to pre-recession levels, because of the population- growth factor,’ Birch was quoted as saying. “We anticipate that our caseload will grow over 18 to 24 months after the unemployment [recedes].”
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