News of the Day ... in Perspective
Most states cutting Medicaid
Last year, 21 states enacted measures to control runaway Medicaid costs, and this year 14 more states are expected to follow.
Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida announced a proposal he calls “empowered care,” which would allot money to 2.1 Medicaid recipients to purchase their own coverage from managed-care and other medical networks. This would be the first state plan to put a cap on state spending beyond which all Medicaid spending would cease.
Gov. George Pataki has urged $1.1 billion in state Medicaid cuts in New York.
Some 322,000 people have been cut from the TennCare program, although Gov. Phil Bredesen of Tennessee says he plans to try to save the program (New York Times, Jan. 23, 2005 www.nytimes.com/2005/01/23/national/23medicaid.html).
In 2004 TennCare consumed one-third of the Tennessee state budget. The $8 billion program had the potential to grow to $12 billion by 2008 (The Economist, Jan. 20, 2005).
Medicaid is the fastest growing item in state budgets, overtaking primary education and forcing cuts in welfare and other programs (AP, Oct. 13, 2004).