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New Report Shows Increased Medicaid Spending in Kentucky

Flickr/Creative Commons/401(K) 2012

A new Pew Charitable Trusts reportshows Kentucky’s spending on Medicaid has increased since the recession, but remains below the national average. The study looked at how much Medicaid spending takes up of each state’s revenue.


Pew found Medicaid consumed a greater portion of state revenue across the country from 2000 to 2017. Justin Theal, with Pew, said the organization studies the issue for a couple of reasons.


“The first is that Medicaid is states’ biggest expense after K-through-12 education, and the second is that Medicaid's claim on each dollar of state revenue affects the share of resources that are available for other priorities like education, transportation and public safety,” Theal said. 


He said Kentucky was one of 13 states in 2017 that hit its highest level of Medicaid spending as a portion of its overall revenue.


“Kentucky’s Medicaid spending grew by 78 percent from fiscal year 2000 to 2017. And during the same time, Kentucky’s own source revenue grew by only 19 percent,” he said. 


Theal said what’s surprising is that even after a post-recession spike in Medicaid spending, funding for the program has stayed at, or near, that level even as states started picking up part of the cost.


Tennessee had the smallest increase in state Medicaid spending. Indiana spent more on Medicaid as a portion of their budget, but fell slightly below the national average.


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