Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Health Care Costs Loom Large in Wisconsin's 2011-13 Budget Shortfall

Link to October 12 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article, "Medicaid among Wisconsin's fastest-rising costs
Governor candidates have not said how they'll cover the program"

Excerpt: In hospital birthing rooms across Wisconsin in 2008, state health programs covered 45% of all deliveries.

That's just one example of the breadth of the state's health care safety net, which has grown even larger in recent years. Today, more than 1.1 million people in Wisconsin depend on Medicaid health programs for the poor. Medicaid provides health care for one in five Wisconsin residents; the group of programs has expanded faster here over the past nine years than in any state except Arizona.

That has placed health care among the state's fastest-rising costs for taxpayers.

"States do have few easy and good options left to control spending in the program," said Robin Rudowitz, associate director with the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, who has written about nationwide increases in Medicaid amid the downturn.

To keep up, the state Department of Health Services is requesting $675 million more for Medicaid and other programs over the next two years, a huge part of the more than $3 billion shortfall in the two-year state budget that awaits the next governor

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