California’s High Health Enrollment Surpasses Projections

California has enrolled 2.3 million people under an optional expansion of the state’s Medicaid program — nearly three times more than the state had anticipated, according to the state Department of Finance.

Beyond that, a record number of people who already qualified for the low-income health program signed up, pushing overall enrollment in the state’s Medicaid program known as Medi-Cal past 12 million to roughly 1 in 3 Californians.

Medi-Cal’s rapid growth is now putting financial pressure on a state that was quick to embrace President Barack Obama‘s health care initiative. Five years ago, the program accounted for 14 percent of California’s general fund. Today, Medi-Cal consumes 16 percent.

In that time, the overall cost of the program has jumped to $115.4 billion from $91.5 billion, although much of the extra funding is supplied by the federal government.

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