More than 50M Americans on Medicaid, 16M More Due under Reform Law

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More than 50 million Americans are on Medicaid, up at least 17 percent since the recession began in Dec. 2007, according to a survey of state data by USA Today.

Medicaid numbers are expected to grow by about one-third in 2014, when about 15 million people are added to Medicaid under the healthcare reform law, covering people earning up to 133 percent of the poverty level.

"Virtually every Medicaid director in the country would say that their current enrollment is the highest on record," said Vernon Smith of Health Management Associates.

Due to higher numbers as well as enhancements of federal funding for state Medicaid programs, which Congress recently extended through June 2011, federal outlays for Medicaid have risen 36 percent in two years, to $273 billion.

States have been limiting growth in numbers of Medicaid recipients. In June, before Congress extended enhanced federal subsidies for Medicaid, 28 states planned to reduce Medicaid payments and 20 more proposed freezing provider payments in FY 2011, according to a report by the National Governors Association and National Association of State Budget Officers.

In addition, 25 states planned to eliminate or limit benefits, nine planned to delay expansions and eight planned to add or raise co-payments. In FY 2010, 17 states raised provider taxes or fees and 13 more planned to do so in FY 2011, the NGA reported.

Read the USA Today report on Medicaid.

Read more coverage on Medicaid.

- House Sends $16B in Federal Medicaid Assistance to President for Signature

- 28 States Plan to Cut Medicaid Payments in FY 2011

- Colorado Gets Approval for Medicaid Expansion Program; Other State Programs Expected Under Health Reform Law

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