What is Medicaid?

Medicaid is a federal-state health insurance program for low-income and people in need. It’s meant for children, pregnant women, senior citizens, people who are blind or have other disabilities, and other adults eligible to receive federally assisted income maintenance payments. Under the Affordable Care Act, eligibility was extended to non-elderly adults with incomes at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty limit. Pennsylvania expanded Medicaid during 2015 and receives an enhanced federal matching payment to support that expansion.

Medicaid is not welfare.

In fact, it might be surprising to learn that 43 percent of the population covered in the Medicaid expansion holds a full- or part-time job but makes less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level, making them eligible. Further, many of these newly eligible adults have serious health problems, including 31 percent diagnosed with or treated for mental health conditions or substance use disorder, and 17 percent with a cardiovascular condition.

Medicaid also covers two-thirds of all nursing home residents in the state.

The bottom line is that people who enroll in Medicaid are the people you see and talk to in your community every day. They are the hardworking family with no benefits and lower wages; the mom juggling her job, school and family; the part-time mechanic who keeps your car running. Medicaid helps them maintain their health and their quality of life.

In Pennsylvania, the state government pays for 55 percent of the Medicaid program and the federal government pays the remainder. Any cuts to Medicaid funding translate to an increased number of people without insurance who go without care.

The Medicaid program is vital to sustaining the health of our communities.