Understanding Medicaid

April 4, 2005

With rapidly rising health care costs and pressures on both federal and state budgets as a backdrop, lawmakers are considering a variety of changes to Medicaid this year. This briefing will offer a chance to learn more about the fundamentals of Medicaid, for those who would like to brush up on their knowledge as well as those new to the subject.

Medicaid is a federal-state partnership that provides health and long-term care coverage to more than 50 million Americans, most of whom have limited incomes. Medicaid’s costs are projected to exceed $300 billion by 2005 (in federal and state expenditures).

Who does Medicaid serve and what services does it provide? How is it structured? How does the program’s federal-state partnership operate? What is Medicaid’s impact on state and federal budgets? What’s driving its dramatic growth in enrollment and spending? What are “waiver” programs, and what is the difference between “optional” and “mandatory” populations? How will the Medicare Modernization Act affect Medicaid (considering that it is known mostly for its prescription drug benefit for Medicare beneficiaries)?

To help address these and related questions, the Alliance for Health Reform and the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured sponsored an April 4 luncheon briefing. Panelists were: Diane Rowland, executive director of the Kaiser Commission; Alan Weil, executive director of the National Academy for State Health Policy; and Rodney Whitlock, Senate Finance Committee Republican staff. Ed Howard of the Alliance moderated.


Full Transcript (Adobe Acrobat PDF)

Speaker Presentations

Diane Rowland Presentation (PowerPoint)
Alan Weil Presentation (PowerPoint)
Rodney Whitlock Presentation (PowerPoint)

Event Resources