Medicaid is a health insurance program in the United States which
provides care for individuals and families with low incomes. It
is funded by both the state and federal governments, and is managed
by the states. The chief recipients of Medicaid in the US are the
elderly, low income families, and the disabled.
Medicaid was created in 1965 through Title XIX of the Social Security
Act. Each state was set up to administer its own Medicaid program,
monitored by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to
maintain consistency of service delivery, funding, and eligibility
standards. Different states call their Medicaid program by different
names, but the service provided is the same. Health insurance is
offered to people who would otherwise be unable to afford or have
access to it. Medicaid pays for nearly 40% of childbirths in the
country, and around 60% of elderly people's health care.
In the 1970s, Medicaid was given permission to cover the services
of people in Intermediate Care Facilities. The SSI program of assistance
for elderly people and people with disabilities was also established.
The Health Care Financing Administration was created to keep track
of the Medicaid and Medicare programs. Despite these advances,
Arizona did not opt to adopt the Medicaid program until 1982.
As of 1985, all eligible pregnant women were mandated coverage
if they chose it, and as of 1986, illegal immigrants otherwise
eligible for Medicaid became covered in emergency situations. In
1997, the Balanced Budget Act of that year established the State
Children's Health Program. This allowed states to cover the children
of families who met different income requirements but were ineligible
for Medicaid. All states now have some form of this health program.
2000's Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment and Prevention Act
allowed states to cover any uninsured woman who had breast or cervical
cancer, even if she did not meet the income standards. This came
at the same times as tightening of funds and clamping down on financing
practices in other areas. Recently, there have been further requirements
from the federal government that Medicaid reduce its spending,
although the number of enrollees continues to grow.
Medicaid is a viable option and a great help to the millions of
Americans who are not able to afford medical care or medical insurance
any other way. Disabled people who would not be covered by insurance
companies are also able to get medical care through Medicaid that
they might otherwise be denied. For nearly 50 years, this institution
has helped Americans get the help they need to afford medical care
for themselves and their children. Despite recent criticism of
spending habits by the states and tightening of funding provided
by the federal government, it seems as though this will continue
for some time into the future. Medicaid's benefits have been expanding
since it was first instituted, letting more and more people have
the medical care they require.