States continue spending heavily on Medicaid

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Similar to years past, Medicaid is weighing down many states' budgets this year, according to a new survey by the National Governors Association and the National Association of State Budget Officers.

Medicaid, a state and federal health program for low-income people, accounts for about 22% of total state spending in fiscal year 2007, according to the NGA/NASBO report. Healthcare spending in general comprises 32% of states' budgets and is the single largest portion of total state spending, the report said.

Nevertheless, Medicaid spending is expected to increase in proposed fiscal year 2008 state budgets, according to estimates in the report. Medicaid pays for about half of long-term care in the United States.

The report, "The Fiscal Survey of States: June 2007," is available at http://www.nga.org/Files/pdf/FSS0706.PDF.