More than 58 million people in the United States received health related services through Medicaid, the nation’s major public health insurance program. About half of Medicaid recipients are children. Medicaid pays for medical assistance for eligible low-income individuals and families with children, low-income elderly and persons with disabilities. Children receive health coverage through both Medicaid and CHIP, the state Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Medicaid is funded by both the states and the federal government. Each individual state is responsible for administering its own program, which in turn is monitored by the federally funded Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
Central to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is the Medicaid expansion. As part of the state insurance exchange program beginning in 2014, Medicaid will be offered to those making under 133% of the federal poverty level. States have the option of establishing this exchange program, in which the federal government pays the 100% of the costs initially and no less than 90% of the costs after 2020. The expansion offers states considerable savings on uncompensated care costs and immunizations. Several states have opted to implement the program ahead of schedule.
For more information on this issue, visit CHN’s Public Policy Priorities, 2015-2016.