The downturn in the economy has driven more Pennsylvanians to enroll in Medicaid according to a report from the Pennsylvania Medicaid Policy Center at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.
The report found that as of February 2010, 17 percent of the state's population was on medical assistance. Center Director Judith Lave says from July 2006 to June 2009, medical assistance rose by 12.1 percent in adults and 9.2 percent in children. Enrollment in the Pennsylvania Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) rose by 34.7 percent. Lave says the increase could cause strain on next year's state budget because federal dollars have been offsetting the increase in participants.
Medical assistance currently accounts for 16.2 percent of the state budget.