Medicaid and Rural America

Medicaid protects long-term care for millions of seniors, assists people with disabilities live independently, and provides health coverage that ensures children can see a doctor when they get sick. Medicaid is critical for rural people, and it's vital for the rural health care infrastructure and for rural communities.

Medicaid serves more people than any other U.S. health program covering health and long-term services for needy and low-income individuals, including children, people with disabilities and the elderly. The program uses state and federal funds to compensate medical providers serving these populations. States design and administer their own programs within federal rules. In Fiscal Year 2008 (the most recent data available) about 59.5 million Americans were enrolled in Medicaid.

In Fiscal Year 2009 (the most recent data available) a total of $366.4 billion was spent on Medicaid services, with 66.4 percent from  federal funds and the remainder from states. Medicaid spending grew by 7 percent from 2007 to 2009. About 62 percent of Medicaid spending is for acute care (prescription drugs, physicians, hospitals, etc) and 33 percent for long-term care (about evenly  divided between nursing home care and home/personal care).

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