Medicaid 101: What You Need to Know

March 1, 2013

A March 1 briefing, Medicaid 101: What You Need to Know, was especially helpful to congressional staff members and others new to the issue, but it was also a useful review for anyone dealing with Medicaid issues, particularly as many states prepare to expand their programs.

Medicaid is administered by states within broad federal rules and the program is jointly financed by the states and the federal government. Today, Medicaid provides health care coverage to over 60 million low-income individuals, including families, people with disabilities and seniors. More low-income uninsured (primarily adults) are expected to gain coverage through an expansion of the program under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA provides 100 percent federal financing for new coverage between 2014 and 2016, and then federal financing for this group phases down to 90 percent by 2020 and beyond. Under the current Medicaid program, the federal government pays for about 57 percent of costs.

This “Medicaid 101” answered basic questions about the program.

What is Medicaid and what is its role in the health care system? Who is eligible and what benefits does it cover? How is the program administered? How much does Medicaid cost and how is it financed? How does the ACA affect the program? What approaches are states adopting to transform the program to meet current and future health care needs of a low income, vulnerable population?

Robin Rudowitz, associate director of the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, explained the basic coverage and financing structure of Medicaid as well as changes under the ACA.

Barbara Edwards, director of the Disabled and Elderly Health Programs Group at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid,  discussed how Medicaid is administered and key priorities for the program going forward.

Charles Milligan, deputy secretary for health care financing at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, spoke about how Maryland is preparing for its Medicaid expansion, and approaches the state is adopting to improve the program.

Bill Hazel, Virginia’s secretary of Health and Human Resources, discussed how Virginia is transforming its Medicaid program to improve quality and reduce health care costs.

Barbara Lyons of Kaiser and Ed Howard of the Alliance co-moderated.


The event was sponsored by the nonpartisan Alliance for Health Reform and Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured.

Contact: Marilyn Werber Serafini (202)789-2300


Full Transcript (Adobe Acrobat PDF)

Speaker Presentations

Robin Rudowitz Presentation (Adobe Acrobat PDF)
Barbara Edwards Presentation (Adobe Acrobat PDF)
Charles Milligan Presentation (Adobe Acrobat PDF)
William Hazel Presentation (Adobe Acrobat PDF)

Event Details

Agenda (Adobe Acrobat PDF)
Speaker Biographies (Adobe Acrobat PDF)

Event Resources