Pediatrician Aaron Carroll summarizes recent research showing the Medicaid benefits for children end up saving the federal government money. How is that possible? Because children who had health insurance through Medicare grow up healthier and are less likely to be on welfare as adults.
This is in keeping with an earlier video Carroll did on the same subject.
Medicaid is a joint state-federal program so the eligibility rules and benefits vary from state to state. The Affordable Care Act was intended to expand eligibility nationwide while covering almost all the costs. States would ultimately pay up to 10 percent of the expansion costs, but that would be offset by savings in subsidies to public hospitals. Unfortunately a number of states refused to agree to the expansion -- even though they'd come out ahead -- because of political opposition to Obamacare.
Incidentally, it's worth recalling that while Medicaid is normally thought of as health insurance for the poor, the majority of people who use the benefits aren't working-age adults but children and especially the very elderly in nursing homes. Medicare doesn't cover extended nursing home care and most people don't have long-term care insurance (it's not cheap), so once someone's wealth has been wiped out by medical bills, Medicaid is the only thing that pays for nursing home care.
It's also worth recalling why Republicans have been so opposed to improving health insurance.