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What's All The Fuss About?

A lot of times people question why Medicaid and Medicare are so important. We are going to present, with facts and data, why these programs are so important.

The Numbers

According to a report by The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, there were 55 million Medicare beneficiaries in 2015. This information was based on CMS Program Statistics from centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), accessed March 2016.

There are 68 million individuals were enrolled in Medicaid as of April 2017 according to

There are currently 326 million people in the United States as of 2017 according to


Here's a brief overview of Medicaid and Medicare.

Why Do These Numbers Matter?

When the numbers from Medicaid and Medicare are added together, they equal a little more than a third of the population of the US.

Now there is some overlap due to dual eligibles. A dual eligible is a person who is enrolled in both Medicaid and Medicare. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation reported there were 9.9 million people who qualify as dual eligibles in 2011. This includes those who were considered partial dual eligibles and those who were considered full dual eligibles.

The point is, when combined, these numbers are a third of the US population. A third of the US population depends on Medicare and Medicaid. These numbers haven’t taken CHIP into account either.

CHIP is a health insurance program for children. According to, there are almost 9 million children enrolled in it.

These programs offer health insurance and care to people who are otherwise unable to afford it.

What About Health Care Facilities?

On the other side of the coin are the health care facilities. These facilities provide a service but the services that are offered are often quite expensive. Medicaid and Medicare offer a way for these health care facilities to be able to bring in money to expand their services, pay their employees, and continue to offer quality health care.

Who Pays For All of This?

One big question that comes up a lot is about who pays for all of this.


Medicare is paid for by two trust funds. These trust funds are held by the U.S. Treasury and can only be used for Medicare.

The first is the Hospital Insurance (HI) Trust Fund.

It’s funded by payroll taxes which are paid by most employees, employers, and also by people who are self-employed.
Other sources, like income taxes paid on Social Security benefits, interest earned on the trust fund investments, and Medicare Part A premiums from people who aren’t eligible for premium-free Part A
Supplementary Medical Insurance, (SMI) Trust Fund 
How is it funded?

Funds are authorized by Congress
Premiums from people enrolled in Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) and Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D)
Other sources, like interest earned on the trust fund investments


The Medicaid program is jointly funded by the federal government and states. A specified percentage is paid to the states by the federal government and its called the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP).

The Point

The numbers speak for themselves. Together, Medicaid and Medicare provide health care in some form to a third of the US population. Without these programs, these people wouldn’t be able to get health care in any way. These are the low-income people who barely make enough to afford shelter and food, the people who are unable to work due to age or due to a debilitating condition. People who were laid off and have been unable to find a job. Children.

So to answer the question, this is why Medicaid and Medicare are so important.