Projected Cost of Expanding Coverage for Children

HEHS-97-170R: Published: Jul 18, 1997. Publicly Released: Jul 18, 1997.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the number of additional children who would be covered under an expanded Medicaid program and Medicaid spending per child on a state-by-state basis.

GAO noted that: (1) there are 32.3 million children under age 18 living in families with incomes below 300 percent of the federal poverty level and currently not enrolled in Medicaid; (2) using estimates of the proportion of potentially eligible children who would actually enroll based on studies of past program expansions, GAO calculated between 6 million and 9.5 million additional children might enroll in the program if it was expanded, at an additional cost ranging form $6.8 billion to $10.6 billion per year; and (3) this cost calculation was based on fiscal year 1995 Medicaid spending as reported by the Health Care Financing Administration.

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