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Article
July 19, 1995

Medicaid at 30New Challenges for the Nation's Health Safety Net

Author Affiliations

From the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, Washington, DC.

JAMA. 1995;274(3):271-273. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530030091042
Abstract

Since its enactment in 1965, Medicaid has been on the front lines in meeting the health needs of our nation's most vulnerable populations. It has evolved from the companion legislation to Medicare that provided health financing to states for coverage of their welfare population, to a program that now finances health and long-term care services for one in eight Americans. In its 30 years, Medicaid has enabled millions of low-income Americans to gain access to needed health services, helping to close the gaps in care between the poor and nonpoor, ease financial burdens, and provide a safety net for the most needy Americans.1

Today, Medicaid's role as a health insurer and safety net for vulnerable Americans is visible throughout the health care system. Medicaid finances care for one in four American children, pays for one third of the nation's births, assists 60% of people living in poverty, pays for

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