Spending on Medicaid is expected to increase 7.3% from 2007 to 2008 and continue to climb over the next decade, topping $339 billion this year and nearly doubling to $674 billion by 2017, according to the first annual fiscal report on Medicaid delivered by the CMS Office of the Actuary.
Additionally, Medicaid enrollment is expected to increase by 1.8% to 50 million people this year, eventually reaching 55.1 million, up 10%, 10 years out. The report also highlights a gap between the cost of care for nondisabled children and adults versus seniors and the disabled. In 2007, the estimated average cost of a person in the Medicaid program was $6,120, but for seniors that amount reached $14,058 and was $14,858 for disabled beneficiaries.
In a conference call with reporters, CMS Chief Actuary Richard Foster said that the data did not include the impact of the current economic turmoil. That will be a big issue going forward, he said.
The growth rate of Medicaid spending is comparable to the projected growth rate in Medicare spending, which is expected to increase 7.4% per year through 2017.
If nothing is done to rein in these costs, access to healthcare for the nations most vulnerable citizens could be threatened, HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt told attendees at the fall meeting of the National Association of State Budget Officers. -- by Matthew DoBias
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