Are the poor and old people provided with proper health programs? Yes, they have Medicare and Medicaid. The two terms are often confused since they both possess names that happen to be quite similar, but in actual sense, they could not be more diverse (Smith, 2010). The difference between these two terms is: Medicare is healthcare intended for senior citizens over 65, as well as for the physically challenged individuals, who receive Social Security payments, while Medicaid is a healthcare service meant for specific groups of poor people, which include families with a single parent, persons over 65 as well as the physically challenged individuals. So it is evident that there exist lots of differences between Medicare and Medicaid.
To begin with, Medicare is available regardless of an individual’s income, while Medicaid generally covers the healthcare costs for the poor American citizens (Smith, 2010). While Medicare is available to American citizens or legal residents of all the financial classes, the poor population is usually unable to afford it. As a result, Medicare is used by people with middle to high income brackets in reality. On the other hand, the Medicaid program is intended to assist the poor members of the American society, and, as a result, many states require that the Medicaid recipients have nothing more than just a few thousand dollars at most in liquid assets for them to participate in the program. There also exist some income restrictions enforced by the state, although such practices vary from state to state. Though Medicaid is intended to serve the poor, just being penurious might not be enough. Other eligibility requirements ensure that the program serves certain groups of people, such as families, children and pregnant women. In general, Medicaid is often seen as a program of last resort to the people who do not have access to any other resources.
In addition, Medicaid consumes much more resources than Medicare. In his press conference, Leavitt (2008) stated that Medicaid spending has become unsustainable for both state as well as federal governments. People must act quickly in order to keep the Medicaid programs financially sound. He added that, should nothing be done to refill those funds, the access to healthcare for the country’s most vulnerable citizens would very likely be threatened. The spending on Medicaid benefits over the next 10 years was projected to amount approximately 4.9 trillion dollars. At this rate, the growth of Medicaid is expected to exceed the increase in all healthcare expenditures, projected by CMS actuaries, as well as economists, to grow by 6.7 per cent annually over the next 10 years. In addition, Medicaid’s share of the United States’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is expected to arrive at about three per cent in the year 2017.This spending is already crowding out necessary constitutional functions, such as defense. Even with federal support, the American states report that they are straining to meet their share of Medicaid costs.
There exist far more differences between Medicare and Medicaid, but the ones mentioned above are among the most important and relevant. In conclusion, it is safe to say that Medicare and Medicaid both serve the people living in the United States, and they are integral healthcare programs, though each of them is suited to peculiar types or classes of people.