FACT CHECK — Abercrombie: 18,000 More Children in Medicaid Since I Ran For Governor

Flickr: luahiwa3

UPDATED 5/17/11 10:40 a.m.

CORRECTION: After this Fact Check was published, Civil Beat was made aware that Neil Abercrombie formally announced his campaign for governor in March 2009. A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that his campaign began in February 2010, when Abercrombie resigned his seat from the U.S. Congress. Bearing this new information in mind, we've changed the grade from "False" to "Mostly True."

Gov. Neil Abercrombie spoke about expanding Medicaid rolls during a press conference recently.

Abercrombie said: "Since I started running for governor, 18,000 children have been added to the Medicaid lists in the state of Hawaii. 18,000."

He used the example to underscore some of the financial challenges facing the state.

But is his figure accurate?

Not according to numbers compiled by the Hawaii Department of Human Services, which tracks state Medicaid programs.

From April 2010 to April 2011, there were 6,789 more children — those defined as 19-years-old or younger — enrolled in Medicaid, according to figures provided to Civil Beat by Joseph Perez, a communications specialist with Human Services. Since April 2009, there have been 16,357 more children enrolled.


Abercrombie formally announced his campaign for governor in March 2009. He resigned from Congress in February 2010.

Since April 2009, there have been 16,357 new children enrolled in Medicaid. If you assume a 12 month average for 2009 at approximately 800 new children enrolled per month, it's likely that since March 2009, there have been about 17,000 new children enrolled.

The number of children added to Medicaid since he resigned from Congress is about 7,000.

When asked for comment, a spokeswoman said Abercrombie was actually speaking about growth in total enrollment. She pointed Civil Beat to figures for total enrollment in Medicaid since December 2010 — not enrollment for children. The spokeswoman provided a chart from the Hawaii Department of Human Services showing an increase from 249,000 in December 2009 to 267,000 in December 2010, a total increase of about 18,000.

The table below shows the increase in children on Medicaid since 2007.

Date Children Enrolled in Medicaid in Hawaii Increase in Children Percentage Increase
April 2007 103,896 N/A N/A
April 2008 105,439 1,543 1.5%
April 2009 114,424 8,985 8.5%
April 2010 123,992 9,568 8.4%
April 2011 130,781 6,789 5.5%

While the governor's number wasn't accurate, his point was correct, that unpredictable growth in demand for services has made the state's budget challenge more difficult.

Medicaid, which is administered by the Department of Human Service's Med-QUEST division, is health coverage through managed care plans available for lower income residents.

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