Obamacare’s impact reaches beyond health care. An Associated Press analysis found that the president’s health-care-reform law apparently triggered an increase in food stamp enrollment across several states.
An expansion in Medicaid appears to be the link. Ten states that expanded their Medicaid programs under the health care law are experiencing an increase in food stamp enrollment. By contrast, AP found that food stamp enrollments are declining in almost every state that refused to expand Medicaid.
One explanation is that Obamacare started a wave of efficient, online applications for government services. Upgraded websites are making it easier to determine eligibility for social programs and to apply for a range of benefits at the same time.
In Illinois, about 50,000 additional people enrolled for food stamps between January 2013 and December 2014, even though unemployment decreased by 3 percentage points during that period. What explains the unexpected increase in food stamp enrollment?
Well, the state has a long-standing policy of using a single form to apply for multiple government benefits. What changed is Illinois’ new online application, a state official told AP.
The enrollment increases are modest, ranging from 1 to 6 percent, over the last two years. Nevada is the only exception, where enrollment soared 14 percent.
Looking ahead, the numbers are expected to rise. AP reported that the Obama administration extended funding for merging food stamp programs and Medicaid enrollment through 2018. More states plan to use the money to upgrade their application systems for government programs.
Read more at the Associated Press.