According to a report from the Foundation for Government Accountability, there is an astonishingly growing problem within the Medicaid program, with 21,000 individuals dying before receiving care.

The Free Beacon reports that this is largely due to the expansion of the healthcare program under Obamacare.

It’s estimated that waitlists for Medicaid exceed 650,000 Americans, while more than 28 million able-bodied adults are currently enrolled in the program, up from just seven million two decades ago. Resources that those on the waiting list could greatly benefit from are now being used by able-bodied individuals.

Created in 1981, the Home and Community-Based Services waiver program allows states to provide needy individuals on Medicaid with additional care without being placed in a nursing home or institution.

Recipients of the HCBS program are primarily individuals who have severe brain injuries or intellectual disabilities, mental illnesses, and spinal cord injuries.

The optional program allows states who participate to set a maximum enrollment number, with a wait list going into effect after the cap is reached.

Since the beginning of the Obamacare expansion, the FGA has documented 21,904 Americans who have died while on the waiting list. It’s estimated that this number could be even higher since several states did not keep a record of waiting list deaths.

“In a nutshell, Medicaid has lost its focus. When you think about the Medicaid program, you think about the blind, the disabled—individuals who truly need Medicaid in order to survive in many cases,” Nicholas Horton, study author and FGA research director said. “You’re just talking about a program that I think has gotten really out of whack and lost its priorities.”

There have been three proposed solutions by the FGA to refocus government assistance efforts on helping those who are truly in need.

First, the FGA is suggesting the HCBS expansion program be ended. Next, it proposed implementing work requirements for those program participants who are able-bodied. Lastly, the FGA called for states to “attack welfare fraud” and give the resources back to those who truly need it.

“Expansion states, non-expansion states, really every state out there, needs to stop and take a look at their Medicaid program, and make sure they’re doing everything that they can to protect limited resources for people that are truly vulnerable and truly need help,” Horton said.

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BY Kate Clark

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Kate is a staff writer for DC Statesman.