This is the program that helps meet health-care and long-term care needs of low-income people — and, advocates say, could top the list of targets for budget cuts.
It is the third-largest domestic program in the federal budget after Social Security and Medicare, costing the government $364 billion in 2016.
Medicaid is funded jointly by the states and the federal government. States get at least $1 in federal funds for every qualifying $1 a state spends on the program, although in some cases they get even more. Federal funds come from general revenue.
Many older Americans rely on the program. In 2014, 7.4 million seniors used it, accounting for 21 percent of program spending, according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a research firm.
Basically, when retirees run out of money and need nursing-home care or other long-term care, Medicaid steps in. (Medicare does not cover long-term care.) It also supplemented coverage for nearly 11 million Medicare beneficiaries.
The largest group of beneficiaries are 34 million children, accounting for 19 percent of the program’s spending in 2014, Kaiser research shows.
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