Medicaid is the government health care program for the poor.
That’s the shorthand explanation. But Medicaid is so much more than that — which is why it’s become the focal point of the battle in Washington to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
President Obama expanded Medicaid under his signature health care law to cover 11 million more people, bringing the total number of people covered up to 69 million.
Now Republicans want to reverse that expansion, and they want to go much further in cutting back on the number of people covered and federal dollars spent. The legislation they’re contemplating in both the House and Senate shrinks and fundamentally restructures the program.
The report issued by the Congressional Budget Office on Monday estimates that 15 million people would lose coverage through Medicaid by 2026 under the proposed Senate bill.
Here are five key things to know about Medicaid as the debate moves forward.
Chart: Alyson Hurt/NPR