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Policymakers should prepare for major uncertainties with Medicaid expansion
Date:10/26/2011

and a possible range of 8.5 million to 22.4 million. Their model estimates that annual federal spending for new Medicaid enrollees will range from $34 billion to $98 billion in 2019, and that 4,500 to 12,100 new physicians will be needed to care for new enrollees.

Prior research shows that a decreasing number of doctors are willing to treat new Medicaid patients, due to low reimbursement rates. This suggests that policymakers will need to take additional steps to ensure that there are enough providers to care for new Medicaid enrollees.

Last year, Medicaid covered nearly 69 million Americans, at an annual cost of over $400 billion. This means that even with the highest-cost estimate of $98 billion, Sommers and colleagues project that the Medicaid expansion under the ACA will represent less than one-quarter of total spending in the program.

"In the end, Medicaid enrollment will be determined largely by the extent to which federal and state efforts encourage or discourage eligible people from enrolling," Swartz said. "The budget scoring rules require CBO to produce one cost number but that number is an estimate. Policymakers are better served if they have the range of cost estimates so possible higher costs are anticipated."


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Contact: Marge Dwyer
mhdwyer@hsph.harvard.edu
617-432-8416
Harvard School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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