Medicaid plays a critical role in ensuring access to health care for tens of millions of Americans. It covers a range of essential services, including preventive care, primary care, hospital stays, and prescription drugs, for those who might not otherwise be able to afford them.
In a new Health Affairs op-ed, Kate McEvoy, Executive Director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors, explores Medicaid’s contributions to the health and wellness of people and families, as well as the economic benefits Medicaid provides to states and local communities.
The piece serves as a reminder that Medicaid is an essential part of the country’s social safety net, underscoring its role as a:
- Major source of quality health insurance throughout the country, particularly for people at risk.
- Foundational part of the nationwide response to serious health crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
- A lynchpin of health care access and an important contributor to state economies.
Read the full article here and see below for key quotes:
“Four in 10 births nationwide are to women served by Medicaid. Almost 35 million children are covered, notably including children served by the foster care system, and Medicaid is the only source of comprehensive mental health care for kids with complex needs.”
“Coverage of both medical and behavioral health services via telehealth, in particular, helped Medicaid programs to preserve access to care at a time of unprecedented vulnerability for low-income people.”
“Medicaid-funded well-child services contribute to school readiness and an appropriate developmental curve as children progress through school. A child served by Medicaid is also likely to be healthier as an adult and earn more over his or her lifetime than an uninsured peer.”
“Compellingly, Medicaid also has emerging opportunities to address and eliminate longstanding disparities, notably for people of color, that relate to access to preventative medical and behavioral health care, management of chronic conditions, and maternal health outcomes.”
“An especially noteworthy element of Medicaid spending is that it is the United States’ single largest payer for behavioral health services, including mental health and substance use care. Medicaid has also historically been states’ largest source of federal revenue and a major source of financial support for both economically challenged urban centers and less populous rural areas.”
“In resuming their normal eligibility processes, states intend to pace the work to avoid errors, maximize available federal funding, and protect people who are most likely to lose coverage for procedural reasons: people of color, people with disabilities, and older adults.”
The Modern Medicaid Alliance and our partners are committed to educating Americans about the value of Medicaid. For more information about the critical role Medicaid plays for the tens of millions of Americans who depend on the program, check out some of the Alliance’s latest resources: