Medicaid spending to increase substantially in the next decade

According to a report released last Friday, Medicaid spending will grow at an average rate of 7.9 percent annually over the next 10 years, ultimately reaching a cost of $674 billion per year by 2017. Consequently, spending on Medicaid benefits will reach $4.9 trillion in the next decade.

What does all of this mean? Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt believes the increased spending trend will become "unsustainable for both federal and state governments," adding that the nation's "most vulnerable citizens" could be at risk. The report shows that the areas where spending has increased the most--and the fastest--are nursing home care and community-based care.

For more:
- read this Wall Street Journal article
- read the report (.pdf)