October, 2009The number of people on Medicaid and state spending on the program are climbing sharply as a result of the recession, straining state budgets and pressuring officials to curb costs despite increased financial help from the federal government, according to the ninth annual survey of state Medicaid programs released by the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured (KCMU). Across the country, states estimate Medicaid enrollment grew by an average of 5.4 percent in state fiscal 2009, the highest rate in six years, surpassing the projected 3.6 percent increase at the start of the year. Similarly, total Medicaid spending growth averaged 7.9 percent in FY 2009, the highest rate in five years, well above the 5.8 percent projected growth. The increased federal Medicaid funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provided an estimated $87 billion to states through December 31, 2010 that helped to address overall budget and Medicaid budget shortfalls and to avoid deeper benefit and eligibility cuts. The survey is available online.