The December 2010 projections from the Medicaid Forecasting Group shows an improving picture for the funding of the second largest program in state government. While there is no guarantee the forecast will continue to improve, it is good news for a program that is at the heart of the state’s financial problems in FY 2012.
For the current fiscal year, projections range from an ending surplus of $15 million to a deficit of $25 million, with the midpoint being a deficit of $5 million. If the Medicaid situation continues to improve, it is possible that the Legislature may not need to pass a supplemental appropriation for the program. This is no guarantee, as enrollment could spike again and the state epidemiologist is predicting a bad flu season.
As for 2012, there was improvement in that forecast as well. The amount of additional funds needed to maintain the program at its current level ranges from $548 million to $614 million. The midpoint of these forecasts is $581 million. That amount represents a decrease of $19 million from November’s forecast.
One aspect of the program that is showing improvement is the slowing enrollment growth. In FY 2009, almost 32,000 additional Iowans enrolled in the program. Another 27,000 Iowans were added in FY 2010. Through the first five months of FY 2011, just 6,222 Iowans enrolled in Medicaid.