When Congress created Medicaid in 1965 to provide health insurance for low-income Americans, it initially covered only a small portion of the population, about 2 percent of Americans. Today, over 50 years from its inception, the program covers nearly 20 percent of the population. Who are the Americans that benefit from Medicaid’s coverage?
The short answer: some of America’s most vulnerable communities. From childbirth to nursing home stays to everything in between, Medicaid makes a difference in the lives of millions of Americans. Of the near 4 million babies born in America in 2017, roughly half of those births were covered by Medicaid. And Medicaid has a huge impact on the overall state of children’s health in America: More than four-fifths of low-income children are covered by Medicaid, as are about half of children with special health care needs. Medicaid also covers 45 percent of adults under 65 who have disabilities and more than half of nursing home residents, a benefit which is limited under Medicare.
Additionally, Medicaid can be a safety net for Americans who otherwise may face exorbitant medical bills. It may be why more than 7 in 10 Americans have reported to be fans of Medicaid.