Health Care Costs Are A Key Driver Of Growth In Federal And State Assistance To Working-Age People With Disabilities
A large and rapidly growing share of US government expenditures pays for assistance to working-age people with disabilities. In 2008 federal spending for disability assistance totaled $357 billion, representing 12 percent of all federal outlays. The states' share of joint federal-state disability programs, more than 90 percent of it for Medicaid, was $71 billion. The increased cost of health care-which represented 55 percent of combined state and federal outlays for this population in 2008-is one of the two main causes of spending growth for people with disabilities. Health care is already likely to be a target of further efforts by states and the federal government to contain or reduce spending, and it is therefore probable that spending restraints will affect the working-age population with disabilities. In fact, unless ways can be identified to make delivery of health care to this population more efficient, policy makers may be unable to avoid funding cuts that will further compromise its well-being.
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