2016-2018 Medicaid forecast grows by nearly $1 billion

healthcareThe official consensus forecast for Virginia Medicaid, long-term care and mental health services expenditures through fiscal year 2018 is up nearly $1 billion from the previous biennium, according to a report from the Department of Planning and Budget delivered to the General Assembly money committee chairs and presented at the House Appropriationns Committee Annual Retreat. The $956 million in projected new state costs would be a 9.3% increase from the previous biennium if the forecast is met.

“Medicaid now consumes 23 percent of our general fund spending and is squeezing new investments in higher education, K-12 education and public safety,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairman S. Chris Jones (R-Suffolk). “This forecast will limit our ability to make new investments in the next biennium and underscores the need to continue our progress on reforms to the current Medicaid program.”

Speaking about the report House Majority Leader Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) said, “Within the last two months, the General Assembly has received three reports detailing the challenges of managing Virginia’s current Medicaid program. Short term costs, as this report indicates, are eating into other priorities. Long term costs, like last month’s JLARC report indicates, are on an unsustainable trajectory. And, as last week’s JLARC report indicates, there are significant flaws with Virginia’s eligibility and verification system. The volume of evidence against Medicaid expansion continues to grow.”

“As Chairman of the House Education Committee, I am excited by the opportunity we have to work with Governor McAuliffe to make investments in our public schools, but this report demonstrates the difficulty we face as we try to craft a budget for the next biennium,” said Delegate R. Steven Landes (R-Augusta). “Medicaid is consuming more and more of our available resources, crowding out other priorities. We cannot sustain this kind of growth in our Medicaid program and the worse it gets, the harder it will be to invest in our children and our schools.”

The full report can be found here.

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