Medicaid spending is "unsustainable" for both federal and state governments, says Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt.
Leavitt spoke at the National Association of State Budget Officers fall meeting and urged action be taken to keep Medicaid programs "fiscally sound." According to a new annual report from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Medicaid benefits spending will increase 7.3 percent from 2007 to 2008, reaching $339 billion and will grow at an annual average rate of 7.9 percent over the next 10 years, reaching $674 billion by 2017. That compares to a projected rate of growth of 4.8 percent in the general economy.
"If nothing is done to rein in these costs, access to health care for the nation's most vulnerable citizens could be threatened," Sec. Leavitt said.