Report Says Medicaid Won’t Bust Utah’s Budget

(KCPW News) A new report by a local advocacy group says Medicaid spending is not going to cripple Utah’s budget, despite fears expressed by some state leaders. Allison Rowland is Director of Research and Budget at Voices for Utah Children.

“What we found is that the share of Utah funds spent on Medicaid has risen in the past three years, but in 2013, the state expects to spend only eight percent of its total local funds on Medicaid,” she says. ” That’s the same amount it spent in 2006.”

The study also finds that while the number of Utahns enrolling in Medicaid went up 67 percent since 2007, the amount of money spent per person decreased by 16 percent.

Rowland hopes state policymakers will keep the data in mind when considering whether to expand Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act, the 2010 federal health care reform law.

“I think Medicaid has gotten a bad rap for way too long. Medicaid certainly costs money, but let’s face it, all health care costs money, and it costs a lot of money. What we get from Medicaid is coverage for hundreds of thousands of people,” says Rowland.

In the 2013 fiscal year, the federal government will grant $71 to Utah’s Medicaid program for every $29 the state spends, more than a two-to-one ratio, the report says.