Medicaid Enrollment Soared In Connecticut, Spending Increased While Other Human-Service Programs Decreased

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Medicaid enrollment has soared in Connecticut, and the state is spending more to pay for the taxpayer-funded healthcare program while it has spent less for other human services, according to a new report by the Fiscal Policy Center at Connecticut Voices for Children.

Medicaid enrollment in Connecticut increased 80 percent from about 307,000 to 551,000 between 1997 and 2010, according to the report, which referred to Kaiser Family Foundation data accessed via the state Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

In Connecticut, Medicaid programs are paid with a combination of state and federal funds.

Here is an excerpt from that report:

The state’s largest single line-item – Medicaid – falls in the Human Services category, and has increased as a proportion of General Fund appropriations since FY 1992. However, it is the relatively modest nature of this increase that bears highlighting. As previously mentioned, state spending on the two largest non-Medicaid healthcare accounts (for retired and current state employees) has increased substantially over the past two decades. Over the same time period, Medicaid has controlled costs while increasing enrollment. In FY 2012 alone, the state took action to contain Medicaid costs by reducing or freezing provider payments, placing cost controls on the use of pharmacies, and reducing benefits and restricting eligibility for certain population groups. Notably, the state spent 27 percent less per Medicaid enrollee than it did a decade previous. Further Medicaid cost containment will figure centrally in budget decisions over the next decade, as Connecticut works to implement the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) while ensuring fiscal balance and maintenance of coverage.

The report says Connecticut’s General Fund appropriations for Medicaid increased 23 percent between fiscal year 1992 and 2012 while funding for other human services decreased, including general welfare by 88 percent.

About Matthew Sturdevant

Full-time staff journalist at The Hartford Courant and magazine freelancer with a master's degree in writing from Dartmouth. My work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, Taiwan News, The Baltimore Sun and many other news sources. My blog has been referenced by Politico.com, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Georgetown Law Library and a number of organizations in healthcare and business. Sturdevant’s blog is "a well-written wealth of ideas," said The Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, (businessjournalism.org, May 18, 2011). I have experience writing for newspapers, magazines, Web sites and blogs as well as shooting and editing video. I made regular appearances on news-talk radio and on the NBC affiliate station in Corpus Christi, Texas. I made occasional appearances on the Fox affiliate in Connecticut promoting Hartford Courant articles.

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