Between 2008 and 2009, Maine’s Personal Current Transfer Receipts (PCTR), which consists of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc., grew by $1.2 billion to $11 billion from $8.8 Billion. As shown in the first chart below, over the last ten years, PCTR has nearly doubled from $5.6 billion in 2000.
The culprit? The second chart below shows the growth in Medical Benefits which have more than doubled in the last ten years to $5 billion in 2009 from $2.2 billion in 2000. While the growth in Medicare was just above the national average (134 percent versus 128 percent, respectively), Maine’s growth in Medicaid grew significantly faster than the national average (115 percent versus 87 percent).
So, the bad news is that PCTR in Maine is growing at an accelerating pace driven by Medicare and Medicaid. The good news, is that Medicaid is at least within control of Augusta. Policymakers need to reform Maine’s Medicaid system to bring the rate of growth in-line with growth in overall economy.
Reform won’t be easy, but the trend-line is not encouraging since Medicaid is on a path to doubling again in the next ten years, possibly sooner . . . will Mainer’s income also double within the next ten years? Not with employment growth like this.