Amidst all the worrying and hand-wringing over the fiscal cliff, the resolution of which was not kind to hospitals, perhaps another nugget of news escaped your radar screen this fall—the combined number of people enrolled in Medicaid and Medicare now exceeds the number of full-time private sector workers in the United States.
CNSNews.com, an arm of the conservative Media Research Center, makes its case based on publicly available statistics from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
To wit: In 2011, the latest period for which data is available, 70.4 million people were enrolled in Medicaid for at least one month. Also, 48.849 million people were enrolled in Medicare that year, which equates to a gross combined 119.249 million.
Though there is no current information on dual-eligibles, those eligible for both programs and thus susceptible to double-counting, in 2008, dual-eligibles made up about 15% of the total, which would mean by 2011, about 10.56 million dual-eligibles would be enrolled in both programs. That would leave a net of about 108.69 million enrolled in Medicare or Medicaid or both.
That compares to 112.56 million people working full-time in the U.S. in 2011, and about 94.75 million who work in the private sector, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.