Medicaid spending up 2.8 percent

Oct. 11, 2006 at 8:14 AM

WASHINGTON, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- Spending by all states on the U.S. government's Medicaid plan rose 2.8 percent in fiscal 2006, the smallest such jump in a decade, says a national survey.

Adding to the good news is that tax revenues for the states rose 3.7 percent in the same period, thanks to a growing economy, the survey by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation showed.

These figures may signal a trend in which efforts by the state-federal program for the poor and disabled to rein in costs may be paying off.

Next fiscal year, The Washington Post reports that five states plan to restrict eligibility, while 26 others plan to restore benefits and ease enrollment restrictions.

"The program continues to grow, but it is not out of control," said Diane Rowland, executive director of the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured.

The Medicaid program currently serves more than 50 million people at a cost of more than $300 billion. States pick up 40 percent of the costs, while the federal government pays the rest.

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