Medicaid is the nation's major public health insurance program for low-income Americans, financing health and long-term care services for over 52 million people, including children and many of the sickest and poorest in our nation. Since its enactment in 1965, Medicaid has improved access to health care for low-income individuals, financed innovations in health care delivery, and functioned as the nation’s primary source of long-term care financing. The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) was enacted in 1997 to provide coverage to uninsured low-income children who did not qualify for Medicaid.
Medicaid is now one of the centerpieces of expanding coverage in the national health reform bill. By 2019, the program is expected to cover nearly one in five Americans. Changes to the Medicaid program have enormous implications for federal and state governments, safety-net providers in the health care delivery system, nursing homes across the country, and millions of low-income families. This section's resources contain links to research, analysis, and the latest data and statistics on the Medicaid and SCHIP programs.