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During its heyday, we tracked Covered California, the wholly owned subsidiary of the federal Affordable Care Act, through the services of health journalist Emily Bazar. She charted problems with the $454 million computer system, skyrocketing premiums, automatic cancellations, glitches with tax credits and such. All told, it added up to “widespread consumer misery,” particularly for the 2000 pregnant women automatically dropped from their Covered California plans and dumped into Medi-Cal, the state’s division of Medicaid. As it turns out, these women were hardly the only victims.
“California signed up an estimated 450,000 people under Medicaid expansion who may not have been eligible for coverage,” explains Chad Terhune of California Healthline.
According to federal auditors, California spent $738.2 million on 366,078 expansion beneficiaries who were ineligible and an additional $416.5 million for 79,055 enrollees who were “potentially” ineligible. Nearly 90 percent of the $1.15 billion in questionable payments involved federal money, with the rest from Medi-Cal, the state’s division of Medicaid. From Oct. 1, 2014, to March 31, 2015, Medicaid paid of $6.2 billion to 1.9 million newly eligible enrollees.
“One woman indicated she didn’t want Medi-Cal but was enrolled anyway,” Terhune reports, and “many people complained about being mistakenly rejected for coverage, or their applications were lost in the state or county computer systems.” So the glitches and widespread misery continues, and that should be no surprise. The ACA was always a stepping stone to government monopoly health care, what statists call “single payer.” In this system, common in one-party dictatorships, people get only the care the government wants them to have. In a market system people choose the health plan they believe best meets their needs. That would be the best replacement for the Affordable Care Act but Congress still seems inclined to the big-government approach, a proven failure as Covered California confirms.