The number of Americans enrolled in Medicaid has increased from 29 million in 1990 to 73 million today — an increase of 252 percent over a period when the nation’s population increased 30 percent.
Total spending on Medicaid today is $574 billion, 275 percent above the $209 billion of 2000.
Medicaid amounts to about 40 percent of the total spending on the 10 largest means-tested federal government programs targeted at low-income Americans. According to the Congressional Budget Office, spending on these programs has tripled as a percentage of our GDP over the last 40 years.
Does all this mean we are becoming a more fair and compassionate nation?
That might have been the intention. But if we honestly look at what is happening, we will see things have gone badly astray.
Some perspective on this is available in a new article by Harvard University economist Edward Glaeser in the City Journal magazine of the Manhattan Institute.