What’s going to happen to health care now that Senate Republicans have failed to pass their bill, which would have replaced much of the Affordable Care Act? In particular, what’s going to happen to Medicaid, the government’s largest insurance program, which covers 74 million Americans? This is a good time to clarify what was at stake and may still be up for grabs in the months to come.

Despite its importance to so many people, Medicaid has always been the health system’s stepchild. Many doctors and dentists have avoided taking Medicaid patients saying the program didn’t pay enough. Until recently, editors haven’t been keen to feature stories about Medicaid believing that their audience was not interested in reading about people most likely to be on the program — the poor, the disabled, kids, and seniors who needed it to pay for their nursing home care.

Suddenly, media stories about cutting Medicaid and the loss of coverage to millions became news. “In the course of the debate, it’s become clear that Medicaid has tremendous public support. There has been much more focus in this debate than I’ve seen in any health policy debate,” said Shannon Buckingham, vice president for communications at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington D.C., think tank.

So what is this program that affects so many and will undoubtedly surface again either later this year or next as a political football?

Go to Source

Medicaid still a target of health care reform – Chicago Tribune