Medicaid, CHIP serve one-quarter of U.S. population

Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program are linchpins to the U.S. healthcare system, according to the inaugural report by the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC). The programs provided some form of service to 76 million people in 2010--25 percent of the entire U.S. population, notes Healthcare Finance News.

Both programs were enormous in scope, with Medicaid spending reaching $400 billion and providing coverage to 68 million people, of whom 30 million were kids. The CHIP program spent $11 billion and covered 8 million children.

"For years Congress has made Medicaid policy without the kind of detailed information available to inform policy decisions that we received on the Medicare program through MedPAC," said Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), who helped autor the legislation that established the commission. "Congress and other policy makers need to pay attention to this kind of independent data and assessment in order to make Medicaid policies that don't result in busting state budgets."

However, the commission did note that gathering consistent information was sometimes a challenge, given that states operated their Medicaid and CHIP programs in different manners and released and reported data at different times.

 For more:
 - read the Healthcare Finance News article
- read the commission's report (.pdf)