(CNSNews.com) - The number of Americans who were enrolled in Medicaid at any time during fiscal 2013 exceeded the entire population of the United Kingdom, according to new data published by the federal government’s Medicaid and CHIP Payment Access Commission (MACPAC).
Were Medicaid a nation instead of a U.S. entitlement program it would be the 20th most populous country on earth.
"The estimated number of individuals ever covered by Medicaid remained steady at 72.7 million in FY 2013, compared to 72.2 million in FY 2012," said MACPAC's statistical report, released on April 1.
The United Kingdom has a total population of 63,742,977, according to the Central Intelligence Agency. Thus, Americans who were enrolled in Medicaid at some point last year outnumbered all of the people in the U.K..
The 72.7 Americans on Medicaid in fiscal 2013 also exceeded the populations of Thailand (67,741,401), France (66,259,012) and Italy (61,680,122), according to the population numbers published in the CIA's World Factbook.
The latest report from MACPAC revised downward by 0.4 million (from 72.6 million) the number of people who had been enrolled in Medicaid in fiscal 2012. "The number of individuals ever covered by Medicaid grew by less than 2 percent, from an estimated 71.7 million in FY 2011 to 72.6 million in FY 2012," said a MACPAC report released a year ago.
Medicaid, a federal-state partnership, is a means-tested entitlement program that provides health care to low income individuals.
The Affordable Care Act, which requires all individuals to have health insurance, also expanded Medicaid, requiring states to extend Medicaid coverage to people earning up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level. The Supreme Court ruled that the federal government could not compel states do this, making the expansion optional for state governments.