The combined number of people enrolled in Medicaid and Medicare–the government health-care programs for the poor, disabled and elderly–now exceeds the number of full-time private sector workers in the United States.
In 2011, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), there were 70.4 million people who enrolled in Medicaid for at least one month. There were also 48.849 million people enrolled in Medicare. That gave Medicaid and Medicare a gross combined enrollment of 119.249 million in 2011.
At the same time, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 112,556,000 people worked full-time in the United States in 2011. Of these 112,556,000 full-time workers, 17,806,000 worked for government (at the federal, state or local level) and 94,750,000 worked for the private sector.
The gross combined enrollment of 119.249 million in Medicaid and Medicare in 2011 outnumbered the 112.556 million full-time workers employed in both the private sector and in government in 2011.
However, there are a certain number of people each year—called “dual enrollees” by CMS—who enroll in both Medicaid and Medicare because they are eligible for both. According to CMS, however, the most recently developed data for the actual number of “dual enrollees” is for 2008–when a total of 61.9 million people were enrolled in Medicaid and 9.3 million of them were “dual enrollees” who also enrolled in Medicare.
“In total, there were about 9.3 million duals in 2008,” said a CMS study published this year. “They represented 15 percent of the 61.9 million Medicaid enrollees and 21 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries that year.”
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