President's Message

Wishing Medicaid a Happy Birthday and Many More!

The Medicaid program celebrates its 50th anniversary on July 30, 2015. This historic milestone is an opportunity to reflect on the program’s accomplish­ments and affirm its continued importance as a cornerstone of our health care delivery system.

Medicaid has transformed health coverage and care for low-income families and individuals in America and has played an important role in family economic security.  Over the course of 2014, Medicaid covered 80 million low-income Americans including 31 million children, 19 million adults (mostly low-income working parents), 5 million seniors, and 9 million people with disabilities.1 Created by U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965,2  Medicaid is a health insurance program that insures children, seniors, individuals with disabilities and families.  It was designed to get health care coverage to people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford the care they need.  In New York, Medicaid covers 5,818,300 people.3

Over the course of 50 years, Medicaid has ensured that millions of people have access to the health care they need without going into deep debt. In states that have expanded Medicaid eligibility, it permits more families to work more hours or seek high wages without fear of losing their health coverage. A landmark study found that Medicaid beneficiaries were 40 percent less likely to have suffered a decline in their health in the last six months than similar people without coverage.4

In addition, children have benefited greatly from Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Studies have shown children perform better in school, miss fewer days due to illness, earn more as adults, and are more likely to finish high school, attend college, and graduate from college. With New York’s strong Medicaid and CHIP programs, fewer children go without health insurance and only 4% of children are uninsured.5 Ultimately, Medicaid has proven itself to be a comprehensive and effective health insurance program.

The Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy is proud to be a strong advocate for the Medicaid program. In honor of the 50th anniversary of this life changing program, let’s celebrate Medicaid’s success for New York’s residents and work to ensure Medicaid can continue to improve health care for individuals and families who need it most.

Kate Breslin
President and CEO

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1 Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. (June 2015) Policy Basics: Introduction to Medicaid. 

2 Ibid

3 Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Medicaid Works in NY

4 Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. (July 2015). Medicaid at 50: Expanding Access and Supporting Work

5 Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Medicaid Woks in NY.