Though the federal government provides some Medicaid funds via matching rates, this welfare program has been taking up a larger and larger share of state budgets in recent years. In fact, Medicaid is the largest category of state spending, accounting for 23.6 percent of state budget expenditures according to the National Association of State Budget Officers. That percentage is likely to increase over time.
Like other welfare programs, this has a dual effect on state budgets during economic downturns because states face an increasing demand for Medicaid services while their revenues to pay for those services decline. Governors in the states are taking different approaches to deal with this problem. SBS President Bob Williams maintains that the Medicaid system needs to be fixed before it is expanded.