This paper examines various reasons for the growth in Medicaid spending in the current decade. Although Medicaid spending has grown faster than the rate of increase in national health spending, much of this is explained by increased enrollment. Per enrollee, Medicaid spending actually compares favorably to increases in medical care prices and gross domestic product. The relative success in Medicaid cost containment seems to be attributable to limits on provider payment rates, expansion of managed care, limits on the use and pricing of prescription drugs, and expansion of community-based long-term care programs. We suggest two strategies for further cost containment.
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