NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


May 21, 2007

Roughly a quarter of all taxpayer spending at the state level is now on socialized medicine in all but name.  It's the largest single spending budget item in many a state capitol, says Jack Markowitz in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

In Texas, for example:

  • Medicaid costs have doubled in the last decade and the program now covers 2.7 million people.
  • The program now costs $17 billion and accounts for 26 percent of the state budget, including $6.7 billion in state funds and $10.5 billion in federal funds.

Nationally, it's not any better says Markowitz:

  • In generous states, you could earn triple the poverty level, $61,332 for a family of four, and still be eligible.
  • About 53 million people are covered, better than one out of six, and counting.
  • Meanwhile, the total projected cost this year will be about typical, inflating another 6 percent, to $336 billion.

The program's original intent wasn't of the sort that's easy to attack.  But states have tended to expand the eligibility, says Markowitz.  Restricting it just to the poor lets out so many people who could use a break, elected officials figure.  And ti doesn't bring in the max in matching funds from Uncle Sam, which can range as high as $3 for every $1 locally taxed.

Source: Jack Markowitz, "Medicaid socializes health care, at a cost," Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, May 20, 2007.

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