Rising Medicaid Costs Strain State Budgets

So expanding the program is a brilliant idea


Rising healthcare costs are pushing up the amounts states must spend on the Medicaid insurance program for the poor, sending some scrambling to find funds, according to a report released on Tuesday by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The report found that spending on Medicaid and other public healthcare programs is currently over budget in 10 states, compared to six states at the same point last year. In contrast, only five states report that education, which has traditionally taken up most spending, is over budget.

Medicaid is operated by the 50 states with partial reimbursements from the federal government and it can take up to a third of a state's budget. In fiscal 2012, it consumed 24 percent of total state spending.