Elderly and disabled beneficiaries make up a majority of Medicaid spending
June 13, 2014
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One common myth about Medicaid is that it primarily benefits poor children and their mothers. But the facts show otherwise. Although children make up about half of Medicaid's enrollment, they account for only 19 percent of total costs. By contrast, elderly and disabled beneficiaries account for 66 percent of the program's costs. The main reason for these differences is that the average spending per child is $2,900 (less than one-half of the program's average), while per-beneficiary spending on the elderly is $16,200 and spending on the disabled is about $19,000 (nearly three times the program average).

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