Last week, NASBO released their 2010 Report of State
Expenditures and per usual, the top line message picked-up by most of
the media was the large share of state expenditures used on Medicaid.
However, there are always exceptions to the rule, and
Kristen Stewart writing for a Salt Lake City Tribune Blog got it
right. In her piece,
“Medicaid Not the Budget-Buster it’s Said to Be,” she pointed out the
often-neglected distinction between state and federal spending on Medicaid. While detractors of the program have
been known to publicize figures for total Medicaid spending -the combination of
state and federal funds- doing so distorts the picture on state spending.
For instance, Stewart points out in her analysis that Utah
Governor Gary Herbert’s recent claim that Medicaid spending takes up 17.6
percent of the state’s budget is not true. Utah State spending on Medicaid is actually only eight
percent of the general fund, meaning the state is not as strapped for funds for
other critical social services as the governor would like you to think.