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Kaiser Family Commission analyzes first 50 years of Medicaid

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Guess who’s turning the Big 5-0?


The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured has conducted an analysis of the Medicaid program, signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 30, 1965, and published it May 6.

The analysis notes that for non-elderly adults and children Medicaid and private insurance provide similar access to care. Eighty-four percent of children on Medicaid reported having a well-child checkup compared to 85 percent of those in employer- sponsored insurance plans.

And when health, demographic and socioeconomic differences between the two groups are controlled, Medicaid adults are as likely as the privately insured to have seen a doctor, both  71 percent, as well as a specialist, 27 percent for employer- sponsored insurance and 26 percent for Medicaid.

The data comes from the 2014 National Health Interview Survey, which has been in effect since 1957. The U.S. Census Bureau has been the data collection agent for the survey for more than 50 years.

The report, written by Julia Paradise, Barbara Lyons and Diane Rowland, “reflects on Medicaid’s accomplishments and challenges” and focuses on five issues that the authors say will help shape the program in the future:

  • coverage
  • adequate financing
  • flexibility
  • long-term care
  • innovation

“While ongoing Medicaid policy debates, demographic pressures, and factors in the health care system overall, Medicaid’s service and record as our nation’s health care safety net bode well for future generations of Americans as the Medicaid program begins its next 50 years.”

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