President Obama’s administration began celebrating Christmas early by announcing 9.7 million Americans have enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program in the past year.

“As we approach the New Year, we take time to reflect on the many individuals and families who have been helped by the Affordable Care Act,” began the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services release recognizing Obama’s “milestone achievement.”

HHS says Medicaid and CHIP has enrollment increased by 24 percent from October 2013 to October 2014 in the states that expanded Medicaid under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare.

The vast majority of Americans eligible for Medicaid under Obamacare are able-bodied, working age adults with no dependent children.

“As of October 2014, approximately 9.7 million additional Americans were enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP – a 17 percent increase over the average monthly enrollment for July through September 2013, the months before the Marketplaces first opened,” Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services director Cindy Mann boasted.

“Enrollment in Medicaid and CHIP happens year-round and states can expand their Medicaid programs to cover more people at any time,” Mann said. “And, even more Americans could access affordable coverage if all states take the Medicaid expansion option.

“Coverage for newly eligible adult beneficiaries is fully federally paid for under the Affordable Care Act through 2016, and never less than 90 percent for the years following. This is a good deal for states.”

Mann is a former research professor at the left-wing Georgetown University Health Policy Institute and a former policy director at the leftist Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Conservative groups are skeptical both of adding millions to Medicaid and of the Obamacare funding promised to compliant states.

“Obamacare is turning into basically a Medicaid expansion,” Heritage Foundation senior research fellow Ed Haislmaier said. “There are people who actually think that’s a good thing, of course, including the people running HHS.”

In October, Haislmaier coauthored a Heritage report showing 71 percent of Obamacare’s health insurance coverage gains through the first half of the year resulted from Medicaid expansion.