HHS is overdue in providing federal Medicaid spending update

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Two top Congressional Republicans are concerned that a report on federal Medicaid spending is thus far two months late.

In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who sits on the Senate Finance Committee, and Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said a report on Medicaid spending was supposed to be filed by Jan. 1, 2012.

The lawmakers pointed out that Medicaid spending is poised to reach $4.4 trillion over 10 years. According to Upton and Hatch, Medicaid's share as a percentage of the national economy is expected to balloon by 35%.

"These statistics are alarming and unsustainable, especially given Washington's record debt and deficit levels and the increasing burden on states to sustain their Medicaid programs," the letter states. “As we consider ways to address these challenges, it is essential to understand the underlying Medicaid spending trends and enrollment patterns."

Medicaid is by far the single biggest payer of nursing home services in the United States. Click here to read the letter.

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