New data show that applications for the federal government’s Medicaid program, known as white cards, have surged in the past year, leaving a record 74 million people with white cards, The Washington Post reported.
From February of last year to January of this year, white card registrations jumped by 9.7 million, according to data released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
For one thing, many people lost their jobs during the epidemic, making them eligible for white card applications. On the other hand, a more important reason for the surge of applicants is a rule change.
The changes were part of the first bailout package last year. The change amounts to a “bargain” between the federal government and the states: states get extra federal money ahead of time to help people who expect to apply for white cards; In exchange, the states promised not to revoke anyone’s white card eligibility until the federal government ended the COVID-19 emergency.
As a result of these two factors, the number of white card holders has reached an all-time high of 74 million, even more than Medicare (red blue card); The latter currently benefits 63 million people.
White cards have income requirements for their beneficiaries. Before the epidemic, some people would sometimes qualify for a white card, sometimes not, depending on their income. But since the outbreak began, state governments have suspended regular checks of cardholders’ income.
Earlier, the Biden administration said the public health emergency would not end before the end of the year. When the federal government declares an end to the state of emergency, states will resume reviewing the income of white card beneficiaries.