Medicaid as a Platform for Broader Health Reform: Supporting High-Need and Low-Income Populations
Medicaid is the health insurance safety net for nearly 60 million of the nation’s poorest and sickest individuals. It provides access to a comprehensive scope of benefits with limited cost-sharing that is geared to meet the health needs and limited resources of the low-income, high-need populations it serves, populations for whom private coverage is often not available, not affordable or inadequate.
This paper, based on years of research and analysis from the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, summarizes the problems that low-income individuals face in today’s health care system and explores policy opportunities to expand the Medicaid program to cover more of this population as a base for broader health reform efforts.
Many leading health reform proposals rely on a combination of public and private approaches to expand coverage, control costs and improve quality, with shared responsibilities across employees, employers, consumers and the insurance markets. Medicaid can provide a strong foundation that can help assure the success of broader reform efforts by maintaining coverage for the poor and sick while providing a vehicle to reach low-income adults with affordable coverage.
Executive Summary (.pdf)