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Cost of elderly left out of Pa. Medicaid debate

September 21, 2013
Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Gov. Tom Corbett's plan to extend taxpayer-paid health insurance to hundreds of thousands of primarily working adults by using federal Medicaid expansion money came with his warning that Medicaid is costly, bloated and ineffective.

What went without mention is the driving force behind the cost of Pennsylvania's Medicaid program: That's the elderly who are its fastest growing group.

Nearly half the state's 2.2 million Medicaid enrollees are children. About 375,000 elderly people receive Medicaid services, whether health care, nursing home care or help in their homes with tasks they have difficulty doing.

Statistics show that the cost to care for each elderly person on Medicaid in Pennsylvania dwarfs the cost of covering the working-age, able-bodied adults who would primarily benefit from the use of federal Medicaid expansion money.



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