Medicaid expenses on the verge of skyrocketing after PPACA - Who's footing the bill?

By Emily Hutto

ProducersWEB


There’s a lot of talk right now about how PPACA will expand the country’s current Medicaid coverage. Important to consider before we expand, though, is where we’re coming from.

An infographic by HealthX on infographiclist.com (An extremely useful resource if you’re looking for infographics about anything and everything) provides a snapshot of the Medicaid program, who it helps and what it means for our finances. Here’s a summation:

Medicaid at a glance
  • It is the United States’ principal health insurance program.

  • It's currently providing coverage to 60 million low-income Americans, including children, disabled people and seniors.

  • It is extremely important to health care reform. We’ve seen this to be true in the recent upholding of PPACA, and we can expect that it will have a significant impact upon the upcoming presidential election.
Medicaid by the numbers
  • It funds 16 percent of all personal health spending in the country.

  • The elderly account for 66 percent of all Medicaid spending, and people with disabilities account for 25 percent.

  • It provides health insurance for more than 24 million children, or 3 in every 10 American children.

  • It represents 20 percent of the $2.6 trillion that the United States spends annually on health care.

The average American, says the infographic, spends more than $7,000 on health care spending each year. It says the next highest cost of healthcare expenditure is in Switzerland, where citizens spend more than $4000 annually on their health. (It seems Switzerland is often commonly in juxtaposition to the United States in conversations about global health care.)

Between 2009 and 2012, Medicaid spending as a share of GDP rose from 2.7 percent to 3.0 percent, says an article in The Fiscal Times.

So that’s where we are. Now state governments face PPACA-mandated changes that will determine where we’re going. States will have to expand Medicaid coverage to people with income up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level. That’s a 33 percent increase from where it is now.

The Fiscal Times article says, “The bottom line: Medicaid will rise another 13 percent to 3.4 percent of GDP by 2017 when the expansion is fully in effect.”

Imagine what this infographic will look like by 2017. Then factor in the 10,000 baby boomers that the Pew Research Center estimates will turn 65 every day for the next 15 or so years, and the fact that more than half of the current Medicaid funding is for the elderly.

One nagging question comes to mind: Who’s footing the bill?