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Resources Examine Recession-Driven Record Medicaid Enrollment and Assess Medicaid Spending Growth

Three papers from the Foundation’s Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured examine Medicaid enrollment and spending during the recent recession. The analyses show Medicaid enrollment rose above 50 million people nationally for the first time in 2010, reflecting the program’s counter-cyclical role of helping people who become uninsured when the economy falters, with many turning to Medicaid after losing jobs and employer-based health insurance. Without access to Medicaid coverage, millions more people who suffered economic hardship likely would have joined the ranks of America’s now 50 million uninsured.

The recession-driven enrollment growth in recent years drove program spending to increase faster than national health spending overall, but on a per enrollee basis the growth in Medicaid spending has remained lower than the rise in private insurance premiums and overall national health expenditures. The recession-driven increase in Medicaid enrollment has been the primary cause of the increase in overall Medicaid spending.

The papers include:

Medicaid Spending Growth Over The Last Decade and the Great Recession, 2000 to 2009

Medicaid Spending Growth and the Great Recession, 2007-2009 (A Fact Sheet)

Medicaid Enrollment June 2011 Data Snapshot