The Politics of Medicaid

Document Type

Book Review

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American College of Legal Medicine




Medicaid is the word on everyone's lips, not only because of the budgetary crisis many states are suffering, but also because the Supreme Court will decide two major cases regarding Medicaid this term, each of which has the potential to significantly alter the course of this long-standing safety net as well as the constitutional principles undergirding the program. Medicaid is a federal program that was intended to mainstream the very poor into the healthcare system by providing states with matching federal funds for particular expenditures on and provision of medical care. Without Medicaid, tens of millions of Americans would be uninsured and unable to access needed medical care, and hospital systems would collapse under the weight of charity care that is required by federal law. The program is often described negatively by politicians and in the media, despite the fact that polls consistently show that the public supports it, and despite the reality that Medicaid is the largest grant of federal money to the states, underlining the import of the program's entitlement to states, healthcare providers, and the poorest citizens. 1

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