By Sarah Kliff | June 21, 2021

Medicaid enrollment rose sharply during the pandemic, with nearly 10 million Americans joining the public health program for the poor, a government report released Monday showed.

Eighty million people were covered under Medicaid, a record. It reflected an increase of nearly 14 percent over the 12-month period ending Jan. 31. The figure also includes enrollment in the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which covers children whose parents earn too much for Medicaid, but too little to afford other coverage.

The spike in enrollment demonstrates Medicaid’s increasingly important role not just as a safety net, but also as a pillar of the American health system, with fully a quarter of the population getting coverage through it.

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