Government and health industry experts agree that over the next decade spending on health care services by both public and private sources will continue to increase at rates above the rate of overall consumer spending.
Medicaid, the shared federal and state program that pays for medical assistance for certain individuals and families with low incomes, is expected to increase its spending on health services above the rates of spending of both Medicare and private health care spending.
Medicaid is particularly vulnerable to factors affecting health care spending because of its role as the safety net program for low-income populations. In fact, the number of Medicaid enrollees has increased by 14 percent since the year 1999 with spending by both federal and state sources increasing by more than 65 percent. The problem of increased spending on Medicaid is particularly difficult for states who must administer the program and for which Medicaid has now exceeded other state programs as the largest category of states’ budgets, surpassing spending on elementary and secondary education.