Medicaid was created by the United States government to provide health care to people who have low incomes and cannot afford health services or health insurance on their own.
Each individual state manages their Medicaid services and programs. Whether or not you or your family is eligible for Medicaid depends on several financial criteria, such as your employment, how much you make, and how many dependents you have along with other requirements.
Medicaid was created in 1965 through the Social Security Act. In 1967, the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT) Plan was developed for children under the age of 21.
Then in 1981, waivers were created for freedom of choice, home and community based care. This allowed patients under Medicaid to have more flexibility and choice to select their own health care providers. Also in 1981, each individual state was then required to pay hospitals that provided health care services to low income patients. This was put in place to reduce the financial incentive for hospitals to limit the number of low income patients they would take, and encourage them to serve everyone equally.
In the 1970s Medicaid began to cover care for people in intermediate care facilities. In addition to this, the SSI Program of Assistance for Elderly and Disabled was also established.
It took 18 years for Medicaid to become available in every single state, with each state finally being on board by 1982 (Arizona being the last). In 1989, dental services were added. Not every state approves dental services for Medicaid, but many do at least provide minimal dental care to patients, such as pain relief, teeth restoration, and maintenance. Some state Medicaid programs also participate in preventative care services and provide services for early diagnosis.
As of 1985, pregnant women who were deemed eligible were mandated Medicaid coverage if they chose to have it, and in 1986 illegal immigrants were granted coverage for certain emergency situations.
On January 1, 1991, The Medicaid Drug Rebate Program was put into place, initially created by the Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1990. The purpose of the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program is to help manage the cost of prescription drugs. The program allows each state to manage a specific list of drugs covered, their generic counterparts, and alternative treatment options.
In 2000, Medicaid took on the 2000 Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment and Prevention Act, which allows any uninsured woman who has breast or cervical cancer to be covered, even if she does not meet income standards.
Federal centers for Medicare and Medicaid are in place to monitor how each state runs their individual programs. They must monitor quality of service, method of delivery, the level of funding and eligibility criteria for each individual state.
Medicaid is an ever-evolving service that strives to provide care for low income families who may not otherwise be able to obtain care. Medicaid and Medicare are viable and helpful options for many people today.
- Medicare.gov: The Official U.S. Government Site for Medicare. Retrieved September 17, 2010.
- Social Security Online. Retrieved September 17, 2010.