Recognized as the nation’s leading source of public health coverage, Medicaid serves as an important safety net program that also provides millions of families and individuals with lower incomes, individuals with disabilities, and people of color with needed access to health care. Medicaid is also uniquely positioned to address sudden and unexpected crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic due to its countercyclical nature, with enrollment and spending rising during economic and employment downturns. Overall, states have seen a slow but steady rise in the share of annual budgets that are dedicated to Medicaid expenditures—hovering close to 30% in recent years.
Medicaid programs are funded via a combination of state investment and matching payments from the federal government for expenditures, based on each state’s cost of living. State Health Compare provides a measure of each state’s own and federal spending on Medicaid as a share of that state budget for each fiscal year.