North Carolina's share of the Medicaid program keeps taking up a larger percentage of the budget. But the legal and political avenues the state has to contain expenses remain narrow.
The General Assembly has made great strides this decade in
controlling costs of the government health insurance program. The
Medicaid program is the second largest agency within the state budget.
But legislative budget writers probably will still have to add another couple of hundred million dollars to the state's 2-point-six billion dollar share of Medicaid next year. Some one-point-eight million patients are covered by Medicaid.
The increase covers inflation. But it doesn't include increased
reimbursement rates for hospitals and physicians. Health and Human Services Secretary Carmen Hooker Odom says the state is working constantly to control the costs.