Republicans demand update on Medicaid finances

The top Republicans with jurisdiction over Medicaid demanded Thursday that the Obama administration provide them with an update on the program's financial status that was due Jan. 1.

Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Senate Finance ranking member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) point out in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that the federal government's share of Medicaid spending is expected to reach $4.4 trillion over the new 10 years. Over that time period, Medicaid spending as a percentage of the national economy is projected to grow by 35 percent, they add.

"These statistics are alarming and unsustainable, especially given Washington's record debt and deficit levels and the increasing burden on states to sustain their Medicaid programs," the letter says. "As we consider ways to address these challenges, it is essential to understand the underlying Medicaid spending trends and enrollment patterns."

The letter goes on to ask HHS to provide a rationale for its tardiness in releasing the report, an update on where it is in the process and an estimate of when Congress can expect to see it delivered.