According to the US Census Bureau, a staggering 45 million Americans did not have health insurance at any time in 2003. A report by Families USA found that one of every three Americans went without health insurance for at least part of the year in 2002-2003. The poor are much more likely to be uninsured compared to the rest of the population.
Three federal government programs provide health insurance for the public: Medicare, Medicaid, and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Medicare provides basic health insurance benefits 41 million seniors and adults with permanent disabilities. Medicaid is the largest provides benefits to 51 million low-income people in the United States – more than one out of every six Americans. The SCHIP program provides health insurance to children in families whose incomes are too high to qualify for Medicaid, but too low to afford private coverage. 5.8 million children were enrolled in SCHIP in 2003.
The passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act looks to improve the health care situation in America as portions of the bill gradually come into effect. 33 million more Americans will be insured, Medicaid will be expanded, Medicare will remain unchanged for the most part and health care costs will be slightly curtailed. All things considered, the PPACA is a step in the right direction. Visit the individual Medicaid, Medicare and Health Care Reform pages for more information.
For more information on this issue, visit CHN’s Public Policy Priorities, 2013-2014.
Policy Analyses and Research
- April 5, 2013Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: Ryan Budget, Not Medicaid, Creates a Two-Tiered Health Care System
- January 23, 2013Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation: Faces of Medicaid Expansion