A recent report from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that the growth in Medicaid spending over the past few years has slowed considerably.
In 2012, the average Medicaid spending growth rate across all states slowed to about 2%. In 2011, the growth rate had been significantly higher at nearly 10%. The Kaiser report stated that this is the slowest growth in Medicaid spending since 2006, when the growth rate was 1.3%.
The Medicaid program (known as Medi-Cal in California) is a state and federally funded program that provides healthcare insurance to the poor, disabled, and elderly who meet specific state eligibility criteria. Some states cited the improvements in the economy as assisting in the reduction in costs. However, states have also reduced the Medicaid pay rates they provide to healthcare providers that provide care to Medicaid recipients, also reducing Medicaid costs.
Additionally, fewer people enrolled in the Medicaid program in 2012, as opposed to 2011. In 2011 Medicaid enrollments was up 4.4%, while this year it is only up 3.2%.
The analysts who issued the report also stated that they expect Medicaid growth to slow next year as well. However, as states begin implementing the Medicaid expansion program as outlined under the Affordable Care Act in 2014, growth rates may increase once more beginning in that year.
The Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that focuses on healthcare issues and global health policy.