The 10 States with the Highest Medicaid Enrollment

With the 2015 elections in the rearview mirror and the 2016 presidential election already dominating the news, healthcare reform, and Medicaid expansion in particular, is returning to the forefront. These states utilize the program at the highest rates.

With the 2015 elections in the rearview mirror and the 2016 presidential election already dominating the news, healthcare reform, and Medicaid expansion in particular, is returning to the forefront.

Kentucky’s governor-elect, Matt Bevin, promised on the campaign trail to reverse outgoing Gov. Steve Beshear’s efforts to expand Medicaid coverage in that state. Meanwhile, GOP governors Chris Christie (NJ) and John Kasich (OH) have had to explain to concerned Republican voters why they went ahead with the Medicaid expansion. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has rejected Medicaid expansion for his state.

Many Republican candidates have also criticized the Affordable Care Act as a whole, raising the possibility that the healthcare reform law could be significantly amended or even repealed if a GOP candidate wins the White House.

With that in mind, today we look at the 10 states that have the highest Medicaid enrollment on a per capita basis. To come up with the list, we’ve taken Medicaid and CHIP enrollment numbers for August 2015 from the Kaiser Family Foundation and compared them with the latest US Census Bureau population estimates for each state. Each capsule also includes the amount the state’s Medicaid rolls have increased since the ACA’s passage.

As one might expect, all 10 of the states on this list have adopted the Medicaid expansion program. Nationally, about 22% of Americans are on Medicaid or CHIP, but in these 10 states the percentage is 25% and higher. For comparison’s sake, only 10% of Utah residents are on Medicaid, the lowest rate of any state.

Medicaid Enrollment: 3.0 million

Population: 11.6 million

Percent Enrolled in Medicaid: 25.89%

Medicaid Enrollment Increase Since ACA: 28%

Medicaid Enrollment: 242,600

Population: 935,600

Percent Enrolled in Medicaid: 25.92%

Medicaid Enrollment Increase Since ACA: 9%

Medicaid Enrollment: 275,600

Population: 1.1 million

Percent Enrolled in Medicaid: 26.12%

Medicaid Enrollment Increase Since ACA: 44%

Medicaid Enrollment: 1.1 million

Population: 3.9 million

Percent Enrolled in Medicaid: 26.65%

Medicaid Enrollment Increase Since ACA: 69%

Medicaid Enrollment: 810,200

Population: 2.9 million

Percent Enrolled in Medicaid: 27.06%

Medicaid Enrollment Increase Since ACA: 46%

Medicaid Enrollment: 545,200

Population: 1.9 million

Percent Enrolled in Medicaid: 29.46%

Medicaid Enrollment Increase Since ACA: 54%

Medicaid Enrollment: 186,500

Population: 626,000

Percent Enrolled in Medicaid: 29.80%

Medicaid Enrollment Increase Since ACA: 16%

Medicaid Enrollment: 12.6 million

Population: 38.8 million

Percent Enrolled in Medicaid: 32.60%

Medicaid Enrollment Increase Since ACA: 38%

Medicaid Enrollment: 6.5 million

Population: 19.7 million

Percent Enrolled in Medicaid: 32.87%

Medicaid Enrollment Increase Since ACA: 14%

Medicaid Enrollment: 724,500

Population: 2.1 million

Percent Enrolled in Medicaid: 34.74%

Medicaid Enrollment Increase Since ACA: 28%

Sources: Kaiser Family Foundation, US Census Bureau