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How Much Will Medicaid Cost in the Future and Why: A Look At Federal Projections

This brief examines the latest Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projections for federal Medicaid spending over the 2013-2023 period. CBO’s budget projections, also known as “baseline” projections, reflect CBO’s best judgment about how the economy and other factors will affect federal revenues and spending under existing laws. The Medicaid baseline includes estimates about the effects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on Medicaid enrollment and spending.  Understanding the CBO baseline estimates is important because they are the basis to evaluate the federal cost and coverage implications of proposed federal policy changes. There is active debate and discussion about the federal budget and federal deficit reduction. The fiscal effect of any federal policy changes will be measured against the CBO baseline.