Medicaid: Its Impact on Healthcare
LaTisha J. Carroll
The legislation the created the state sponsored Medicaid program (and Medicare) was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 30, 1965 (McLaughlin, 2005). The purpose of this program initially was to provide medical coverage for low-income families with children and the disabled who received cash assistance from the government. It's now grown to include all low-income families, not just those that receive cash assistance. Today, Medicaid is the primary provider of health care and long-term care for millions of Americans (Rowland & Garfield, 2000). When most of the other social services, mental health care, and related interventions have been merged into federally block grants, which have been either reduced or under-funded due to inflation, Medicaid has remained as one of the only uncapped programs in the federal-state funded programs (Concannon, 2005). During Medicaid's 31-year history, it has had many accomplishments (i.e. providing care to over 40 million people), but its success is not without failure. The program is governed at the state level, which means that coverage guidelines vary from state to state. Medicaid is $169 billion dollar expense, which is only going to increase due the uninsured population continuing to grow (Rowland & Garfield, 2000). During the early years of Medicaid, prescriptions drug costs accounted for only 5% of the program cost; it has now risen to 15%. With this huge increase illustrates the changing and evolving American Health care system (Concannon, 2005). Many efforts to continue providing Medicaid to the many uninsured Americans is becoming a huge concern to the state governments who are struggling to keep revenues coming in to fund the program (Concannon, 2005). Medicaid has helped to close the gap between low-income Americans accessibility to healthcare without relying on charity care from hospitals and physicians (Rowland & Garfield, 2000). Individuals...
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