Editorial Responds to Decline in Medicaid Spending
"It's ... too soon to celebrate" reports that Medicaid spending declined by 1.4% in the first nine months of 2006 -- the first-ever decrease in spending for the program since it began in 1965 -- but "it's encouraging that there are new ideas for controlling Medical costs without reverting to pre-1965 privations," a USA Today editorial states.
"The strong economy gets a large share of credit" for the decline, as "[f]ewer people turn to Medicaid for assistance when unemployment rates are low," and "[s]ome savings are the result of shifting costs to the federal government under the Medicare prescription drug program," the editorial states, adding, "But that's only part" of the reason for the decline.
According to USA Today, "States faced with skyrocketing costs realized they couldn't afford to wait for a solution from Washington," so they "are acting as laboratories to test approaches to control spending without hurting deserving recipients." A federal law signed in February "gives states greater flexibility to try ideas without jumping through years of bureaucratic hurdles," the editorial states.
However, "it's too soon to calculate the impact" of state initiatives "because the plans are so new," according to the editorial (USA Today, 11/28).