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Per-Enrollee Medicaid Costs Vary by State

A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report shows that Medicaid per-enrollee spending varies widely by state. GAO analyzed data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to determine the amount that states spend on Medicaid enrollees. The report found high levels of variance in per-enrollee spending overall and within each eligibility group. GAO also noted that state program data are not always comparable, given the different characteristics of state Medicaid programs. The report found that these differences help drive the varying spending per enrollee, along with other factors, including geographic cost differences and indicators used to calculate managed care rates. GAO states in the report that, until data are more comparable, quantifying the impact of factors that drive cost is not possible.

Please contact Xiaoyi Huang, JD, director of policy, at or 202.585.0127 with questions.


About the Author

Matt Buechner is the policy and advocacy associate for America's Essential Hospitals.

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