When high levels of lead were discovered in the public water system in Flint, Mich., in 2015, Medicaid stepped in to help thousands of children get tested for poisoning and receive care.
When disabled children need to get to doctors’ appointments — either across town or hundreds of miles away — Medicaid pays for their transportation.
When middle-class older Americans deplete their savings to pay for costly nursing home care, Medicaid offers coverage.
The United States has become a Medicaid nation.
Although it started as a plan to cover only the poor, Medicaid now touches tens of millions of Americans who live above the poverty line. The program serves as a backstop for America’s scattershot health care system, and as Republicans learned this year in their relentless battle to replace the Affordable Care Act, efforts to drastically change that can spur a backlash.