Medicaid was founded in 1965 during the Johnson Administration as a health care mechanism for the poor. Since its passage in 1965, Medicaid has become the nation’s main public health insurance program for the low-income population. It is also the predominant source of coverage and financing of long-term care services for the elderly and individuals with disabilities. Medicaid plays many roles in our health care system and was expanded significantly as a base of coverage for the low-income population under the Affordable Care Act.
USA Today examined Medicaid in nine states finding:
Costs speeding out of control as Medicaid consumes nearly a quarter of state spending even before the Affordable Care Act, rivaling spending on schools and transportation. States soon will have to spend another 10% on expansion. This could force states to further slash how much doctors get reimbursed, this has already led many physicians to cap how many Medicaid patients they’ll see.
In some places care is limited or not available at all. Several in opposition to Medicaid expansion say the poor still manage to find care. But while some get help at free or low-cost clinics and emergency rooms, USA TODAY found that many uninsured Americans with potentially deadly illnesses can’t pay for even inexpensive care and are completely shut out from pricey specialists, tests and medications. In states that haven’t expanded their programs, 3.7 million people aren’t eligible for traditional Medicaid and make too little to be eligible for subsidized insurance on the Obamacare exchanges. Even if extremely poor, they don’t qualify for any government health insurance plan whatsoever.
In states like Tennessee and Virginia, politicians aren’t budging on their refusal to expand the program. Right after the Supreme Court upheld subsidies for insurance plans on the federal health care exchange late last month, President Obama brought the fight back to getting states to sign on as originally envisioned. He accused the holdout states of not covering millions of people for “political reasons.” But those who question the wisdom of Medicaid expansion cite everything from its high cost to the way it operates.