Historic Medicaid woes expected to continue through fiscal 2010, new report indicates

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AHCA to Congress: More long-term care nurses needed
AHCA to Congress: More long-term care nurses needed

Enrollment in state Medicaid programs grew by an average of 5.4% in 2009 (higher than a projected 3.6%), putting a serious strain on state budgets and resulting in program cuts nationwide. Worse, the trend is expected to continue well into 2010, according to a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Medicaid is the single biggest payer of U.S. long-term care services. The economic recession has forced more people onto the Medicaid roles than originally anticipated, and despite increased assistance from the federal government, many state legislatures are feeling pressure to cut costs, according to Kaiser's Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. Medicaid

State spending on Medicaid increased by an average of 7.9% in FY 2009, much higher than the 5.8% experts had been projecting. Spending in FY 2010 is projected to climb by 6.3%, but roughly three-fourths of states are worried that, like this year, those projections will come up short, leading to further budget strains. 

The situation, though bleak, would likely have been much worse without added federal investment in Medicaid, according to the report. The additional $87 billion in Medicaid matching funds allotted by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act helped protect both Medicaid eligibility and many provider reimbursements. The report, "The Crunch Continues: An Update on Medicaid Spending, Coverage and Policy in the Midst of a Recession—Results from a 50-State Medicaid Budget Survey for State Fiscal Years 2009 and 2010," is available online at http://www.kff.org/medicaid/7985.cfm.
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