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The Economics of Medicaid: Assessing the Costs and Consequences Paperback – March 24, 2014

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About the Author

Antos-Congressional Budget Office

CHARLES P. BLAHOUS III is currently Executive Director for the Alliance for Worker Retirement Security in Washington, D.C.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Mercatus Center at George Mason University; 1 edition (March 24, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0989219364
  • ISBN-13: 978-0989219365
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #437,259 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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You have to be a Medicaid wonk to like these books. This book is a compilation of papers produced by the Mercatus Center, a free market voice out of George Mason University (free PDF download). Contributors include Charles Blahous, a public trustee for Medicare and Social Security, and James Capretta who worked in OMB during G.W. Bush's term. This was good to read after having read Medicaid and Devolution by the left-leaning Brookings Institute in the 1990s. Economics of Medicaid rehashes and addresses some of the arguments for and against state block funding for Medicaid, a Medicaid reform proposal preferred by conservatives, that Devolution highlighted.

The latest data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid services tell us that 59.1 million Americans were enrolled in Medicaid in 2013 (up 0.7% from 2012), roughly 20% of the population. About 40 percent of all U.S. births are funded by Medicaid. Enrollment in 2022 is projected to be 80.9 million, a rate of 3.3% growth over this period as states expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act are problematic primarily because they are expensive: "Some 72 million people will have received Medicaid benefits at some point during the year 2013. Over the next decade, Medicaid will spend $7.5 trillion, with federal payments accounting for $4.3 trillion." They are expensive for all Americans because Medicaid, while run by states, is subsidized with federal tax dollars. State budgets pay about 43 cents of every Medicaid dollar. In 2010, Medicaid payments per beneficiary were $2,129 for children and $3,102 for the adult category but $15,339 for the elderly and $15,752 for the disabled; the average payment per elderly Medicaid recipient for nursing home care was about $35,000.
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