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The Latest Data on Mandatory and Optional Populations and Benefits in Medicaid

With discussions on restructuring Medicaid occurring in state capitols and Washington, two new reports provide the latest data on how much of Medicaid's spending is for covering mandatory versus optional populations and services. The analysis shows that although optional populations account for 29 percent of Medicaid enrollment, 60 percent of all Medicaid spending (whether for mandatory or optional populations) is optional and 86 percent of optional spending is for the elderly or individuals with disabilities. The issue paper is a brief summary of the data and the discussion of the practical implications for policy changes and the background report is a more detailed examination which includes the methodology of the analysis and many charts and tables.

Issue Paper – Medicaid: An Overview of Spending on “Mandatory” vs. “Optional” Populations and Services

Background Report – Medicaid Enrollment and Spending by “Mandatory” and “Optional” Eligibility and Benefit Categories

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.