A Short History of Medicaid  
 
 

A Short History of Medicaid

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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.



 

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