- Associated Press - Sunday, July 19, 2015

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California has enrolled 2.3 million people under an optional expansion of the state’s Medicaid program - nearly three times more than the state had anticipated.

Medi-Cal’s rapid growth is now putting financial pressure on a state that was quick to embrace the federal health care initiative. Five years ago the overall cost of the program was $91.5 billion. Today, it’s $115.4 billion.

California officials say the decision to expand has allowed the federal government to inject billions into the state’s economy, and they say the state is prepared to handle additional costs through long-term budgeting and better coordination with other social programs.

Republicans are worried that Democrats who control the Capitol will look to raise taxes.

California’s costs will grow as the federal government begins reducing contributions starting in 2017.

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