Chart: RI elders cost Medicaid 7 times more than kids, familiesMarch 1st, 2012 at 6:00 am by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site
In 2010, 25 cents of every $1 spent by Rhode Island’s government went toward Medicaid.
The $2 billion Rhode Island spent on Medicaid, half of which is paid for with federal money, subsidizes health care for low-income people through multiple departments, agencies and programs. Now that pension costs have been reined in, Medicaid is also the fastest-growing part of the state budget.
The state says 190,823 residents used Medicaid in some form or fashion in January. Children and families made up two-thirds of those people (68%) and adults with disabilities made up another 16%. Elders (9%) and children with special needs (7%) make up the rest.
Common sense would imply, then, that the bulk of Medicaid spending is also on children and families. But that’s not true at all. Average Medicaid spending among children and families was roughly $3,727 per enrollee in 2010, compared with roughly $26,009 each among the elderly – nearly seven times more per person.
Here’s a chart from Elena Nicolella, Rhode Island’s Medicaid director, showing the disparity:
“As you can see, the amount we spent per blind or disabled person, or per elderly person, is much, much more than the amount we spend per child or adult,” health economist Aaron Carroll wrote recently. “This means that if we really want to cut Medicaid spending, and we want to do it on the backs of adults or children, we will have to drop many, many more of them to make a real impact on spending.”
(chart via Economic Progress Institute)