GAO identified three broad areas that are contributing to the growth of Medicaid spending, which is projected to exceed $900 billion in fiscal year 2025.
- Improper payments, including payments made for services not actually provided. Regarding managed care payments, which were nearly half (or $280 billion) of Medicaid spending in fiscal year 2017, GAO has found that the full extent of program risk due to overpayments and unallowable costs is unknown.
- Supplemental payments, which are payments made to providers—such as local government hospitals—that are in addition to regular, claims-based payments made to providers for specific services. These payments totaled more than $48 billion in fiscal year 2016 and in some cases have shifted expenditures from the states to the federal government.
- Demonstrations, which allow states to test new approaches to coverage. Comprising about one-third of total Medicaid expenditures in fiscal year 2015, GAO has found that demonstrations have increased federal costs without providing results that can be used to inform policy decisions.