What does the future hold for U.S. healthcare?Medicaid is the single largest payer for healthcare services in every state. With nearly 10 million people enrolling in 2014 alone, total enrollment nationally tops 68 million, or one in five Americans.
The largest increases in Medicaid enrollment have been in states that expanded their programs under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In fact, take-up rates in expansion states far exceeded projections. But states that did not expand likewise saw an uptick in Medicaid, as the publicity surrounding new coverage options and tax credits caused many previously eligible people to enroll. Increased Medicaid enrollment, particularly in expansion states, combined with new federal dollars available through State Innovation Model grants and Section 1115 Delivery System Reform Payment Programs, is fueling unprecedented Medicaid transformation efforts in the states. Indeed, it is hard to find a state that is not intent on becoming a smarter purchaser of services for its beneficiaries.
The growth in Medicaid is also reducing the uncompensated care costs of hospitals, providing millions of new enrollees for Medicaid managed care companies, and generating new customers for pharmaceutical manufacturers. Finally, and crucially, Medicaid's growth nationwide is driving down uninsurance rates, connecting millions of Americans to health insurance and healthcare (many for the first time), and providing a solid foundation on which states can begin to tackle the thorny tasks of improving healthcare quality and access while containing costs.
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