Congress ‘Doing Little’ to Help States with Rising Medicaid Costs, Broder Says
State budgets face their "worst fix in 20 years," in large part as a result of increased Medicaid costs, and "Washington is doing little to help them," columnist David Broder writes in a Washington Post opinion piece. Nationwide, state Medicaid costs increased 13.4% between 2001 and 2002 -- a "horrendous statistic" -- which has forced many states to spend tobacco settlement funds and other reserves to balance their budgets, Broder writes. He adds that the "Medicaid runaway [spending] is threatening everything else in state budgets" and may force states to impose reductions on other programs or raise taxes to cover the cost. Broder criticizes Congress for "offering no solutions" to a "national explosion of health care costs," which has contributed to the increased Medicaid spending. Although some lawmakers last fall "seemed sympathetic" to a proposal to increase the federal share of Medicaid reimbursements by 1%, Broder writes that the help "disappeared" after President Bush decided to "flex his muscle" against the proposal (Broder, Washington Post, 5/22).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.