Historical and Projected Trends in Medicaid. I. Introduction


This report has been prepared to provide data on the current state of Medicaid, the nation’s program providing health and long-term care services to low-income families, elderly and disabled individuals. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), formerly called the Health Care Financing Administration, within the Department of Health and Human Services, is responsible for overseeing the Medicaid program. The report presents historical and projected future enrollment and spending trends for this vitally important program.1 Medicaid is now the largest health insurance program in the United States, providing services to an estimated 58.6 million people and spending $298 billion in 2004. Given Medicaid’s projected spending growth rate over the next ten years, questions have been raised about Medicaid’s financial sustainability. Both Medicare and Social Security have annual Trustees’ reports that provide both policymakers and the public with at least a partial measure of those programs financial viability. Since Medicaid does not have a group of trustees to periodically report on its status, the purpose of this report is to provide a more complete picture of the future of the Medicaid program than has been previously available.

1 ASPE has attempted to present consistent numbers throughout this report; however, some inconsistencies may appear due to the use of different sources and estimating techniques for some information.

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