Surprise: ObamaCare will likely increase food stamp enrollment

Once all of the new ObamaCare mandates, regulations, and taxes are fully priced into the healthcare market we may all be lining up for government butter and cheese, but that’s not the story here. No, apparently the multi-million dollar ObamaCare marketing campaign signing up new Medicaid recipients by the millions will come with an unexpected bonus for fans of the entitlement state. Lots and lots of people finding out for the first time that in addition to free healthcare they are also eligible for a shiny new EBT card. Via Politico.

The Obama administration has ordered a study to determine whether the Affordable Care Act, by increasing the number of people eligible for Medicaid, will also increase the number of people enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program based on how states enroll people.

The outcome of the study could show an increase of 3 percent to 5 percent in food stamp recipients in some states from people who were already eligible for SNAP benefits but had not enrolled in the program — which could translate to millions or even billions more in federal spending, Greg Mills, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute who is conducting the study, told POLITICO.

“So in percentage terms, it’s not going to be very large, but we’re talking about a very large program,” said Mills, who is investigating the effects of the health care law on SNAP on behalf of the Department of Agriculture’s Food Nutrition Service, the agency that monitors food stamps.

How large? Well, we spent over $78 billion on the program last year so the expected increase would be something in the range of $1.5 to $4 billion. Which, surprise, would go a long way towards offsetting the cuts the GOP thought they had won in the recent budget deal. But here’s what I want to know: is a study on this really necessary? With the ObamaCare enrollment deadline looming, seems to me the bills for any new SNAP enrollees will start rolling in soon enough. Why doesn’t the White House commission something more useful instead? Like a study forecasting the number of employers likely to drop insurance coverage in the next couple of years, or how many part-time employees will have their hours reduced due to the employer mandate. The White House says there is no data to support these “anecdotal” claims, so let’s hop to it guys – prove us wrong.

Of course it wouldn’t be a food stamp story in a liberal rag without a quote from someone praising the proactive effort to sign-up even more people, and Politico doesn’t disappoint. I’m all for a helping hand-up to those in need but is it too much to expect we at least wait until they’ve made a conscious decision to reach out for help first? If our modern day Jeff Spicoli’s are going to get free check-ups now to go along with their sushi, I say we at least make them get off the couch before we sign ’em up.

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