Medicaid provides low-income and disabled individuals in the United States with access to comprehensive public health insurance coverage and was signed into law in 1965. At the time, Medicaid was a secondary consideration to Medicare, the government health insurance program for older Americans. However, Medicaid has since become the single largest health insurance program in the country, covering nearly 70 million beneficiaries. Initially focusing on pregnant women and children as well as the aged, blind, and disabled, the Medicaid program has expanded to become a critical provider of health insurance to additional populations. This entry reviews key attributes of the Medicaid program, changes in Medicaid eligibility and benefits over the life span, the impact of Medicaid coverage on program beneficiaries, and ongoing financial and administrative ...

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