Medicaid: Containing Costs and Improving Value


Two snakes medical symbol photoFunding ongoing Medicaid programs is one of the greatest challenges for states.

The state’s share of the joint state-federal program accounts for an average of 15 percent of state general funds and about 21 percent of total state spending when federal funds are added to the mix. Cutting benefits, limiting eligibility and reducing provider reimbursements have been the three “usual suspects” used by states for short-term Medicaid cost containment.

Many policymakers think short-term fixes to Medicaid, including cuts in services, won’t do the trick. Lawmakers are focusing on how to bring down the costs of Medicaid for the long term.

Overhauling Medicaid, however, is no easy task. States always have served as laboratories of innovation for Medicaid and still do.  State lawmakers are exploring innovative ways to improve the value of the Medicaid program.

For more information on state Medicaid actions, please refer to the right-hand column for additional NCSL resources.