Spotlight: NPP’s Health Care and Affordable Care Act Voter’s Guides


Photo courtesy of UW Health.

The federal government’s role in health care is time-tested: Medicaid will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year, and Medicare will celebrate its 50th the year after that. Way back in 1912, President Teddy Roosevelt called for a version of universal health care. This week, we spotlight our Voter’s Guides on health care and the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) to give you the current state of federal health care policy and spending before the November 4 election.

One in five Americans benefit from Medicaid; nearly one in six have Medicare; eight million children are covered by Children’s Health Insurance Program; and eight million (and counting) Americans are insured through Obamacare. Federal health care programs almost certainly touch someone you know.

Here’s a sample of what you’ll find in our Voter’s Guides:

  • Federal spending for health programs is projected to total nearly $1.1 trillion in fiscal year 2015. That’s huge, and accounts for more than a quarter of total federal spending.
  • Health care spending is also the fastest-growing category of federal spending. Early signs are that that Affordable Care Act might be helping to slow down the rise in health care costs – one of the act’s key goals.
  • The Affordable Care Act allowed states to use federal money to expand Medicaid to families just above the poverty line ($19,790 for a family of four), but only 27 states have chosen to do so. The 23 states that have chosen not to expand Medicaid using federal funds are home to 3.6 million eligible people, including 2.7 million children.
  • The most expensive part of Medicare, which covers hospital, skilled nursing and hospice stays, is on track to be fully funded through the year 2030.

Check out our full set of 13 Voter’s Guides here, and make sure you vote on November 4!

And if you really want to know more, check out our new datasets on federal spending, building up to the release of our exciting new feature, State Smart, that will show federal spending in all 50 states (and Washington, DC)!