Medicaid, often stigmatized among government health care programs, is finally coming into its own.
The federal-state program for low-income people has been scarcely debated in the turbulent presidential election, but it faces real consequences depending on who wins the White House in the Nov. 8 vote.
Under President Barack Obama, Medicaid has expanded to cover more than 70 million people and shed much of the social disapproval from its earlier years as a welfare program. Two big industries — insurers and hospitals — have a declared stake in the future of the program, which costs more than $530 billion a year. Insurers are leading a new "Modern Medicaid Alliance" to educate lawmakers about how the program has moved closer to private coverage.