The purpose of this article is to describe Medicaid's financial structure and examine cost containment efforts to limit future growth of the program, particularly pertaining to Massachusetts. The principal focus is the Massachusetts Department of Public Welfare and the Massachusetts Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, the two agencies most responsible for Medicaid cost containment in the commonwealth. Because elected officials are unwilling to face directly the troublesome issues surrounding Medicaid and its growth, the government agencies responsible for cost containment have been left to define the scope of the problem, design remedial strategies, and evaluate their success. This process is found wanting on several counts that are not necessarily the fault of the state agencies. What is needed is a national cost-containment policy fashioned by elected officials that provides a comparative framework for evaluation across states.



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