is a joint federal-state program that provides health care coverage for
low-income people - primarily children, pregnant women, parents, the disabled
and elderly. About 60 million people receive Medicaid benefits at some point
during the year. Children account for about half of those enrolled. About
one-quarter are elderly or disabled.
addition, another national health insurance program, the Children's Health
Insurance Program (CHIP), covers more than 7 million low-income, uninsured
children who are not eligible for Medicaid. That program is expected to grow to
11 million children by 2013.
is administered by the states, although the federal government sets minimum
eligibility standards and provides at least half of the funding.
What is the current state of Medicaid?
recession has undermined the budgets of many states at the same time that
millions more people, hard hit by job cuts, are enrolling in Medicaid and CHIP.
Even though Congress included $87 billion in the stimulus funding legislation
to help states pay for Medicaid through 2010, the aid is temporary and further
cuts are expected in programs.
How much does Medicaid spend?
year 2006, Medicaid spent an average of $4,575 per person: $1,708 for children,
$10,691 for elderly enrollees and $12,874 for disabled persons. Total spending
in fiscal year 2007 was $330 billion.
most people enrolled in Medicaid are children and parents, most of the money
spent - 68 percent in 2006 - is spent on the elderly and disabled.
How will the reform proposals affect Medicaid?
see the Medicaid program as an important means of covering the uninsured. The
bills differ on details but all of the pending Democratic measures would
increase the maximum amount a person could earn as income and still be eligible
for the program. In addition, all of these bills would extend Medicaid coverage
to a new category of individuals - childless adults who fall below the income
thresholds. Twenty-four states have some childless adult coverage now. And,
although details again vary, all of the proposals would provide more federal
funds to states to help pay for this new coverage category.
on the proposal, children who currently are enrolled in the CHIP program could
remain in it, enroll in a new regulated marketplace called an
"exchange" or "gateway," or be enrolled in Medicaid.
Additionally, the House legislation would boost
payment rates for doctors and other practitioners to the same level as Medicare
payment. Right now, Medicaid physician fees are 72 percent of the fees Medicare
pays to doctors. If rates aren't raised, analysts say, there won't be enough
doctors to take care of the increased number of people entering the Medicaid
Source: Kaiser Health News