This number is extraordinary. We need to be praying about this. We want to take care of the poor and those who are able to take care of themselves. But the way we are doing it now is unsustainable. We can't keep throwing money at the problem; it's not working. Things continue to get worse, and we are running up a debt that will eventually bankrupt us. And we can't tax anymore; everyone I know is strapped the way it is. Further taxation will lead to more foreclosures. We need God's wisdom on what to do. Pray...
WASHINGTON — Government anti-poverty programs that have grown to meet the needs of recession victims now serve a record one in six Americans and are continuing to expand.
More than 50 million Americans are on Medicaid, the federal-state program aimed principally at the poor, a survey of state data by USA TODAY shows. That's up at least 17% since the recession began in December 2007.
"Virtually every Medicaid director in the country would say that their current enrollment is the highest on record," says Vernon Smith of Health Management Associates, which surveys states for Kaiser Family Foundation.
The program has grown even before the new health care law adds about 16 million people, beginning in 2014. That has strained doctors. "Private physicians are already indicating that they're at their limit," says Dan Hawkins of the National Association of Community Health Centers.
More than 40 million people get food stamps, an increase of nearly 50% during the economic downturn, according to government data through May. The program has grown steadily for three years.
Caseloads have risen as more people become eligible. The economic stimulus law signed by President Obama last year also boosted benefits.