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While Medicare may get more time in the federal health care payment spotlight, Medicaid is at least as important. Even prior to the pandemic, Medicaid was the primary source of health coverage for eligible low-income adults, children, pregnant women, older adults, and people with disabilities, with one in five Americans participating in the program. But COVID-19's economic fallout and its deep impact on unemployment have sent Medicaid enrollment soaring. Preliminary data shows that between February and September 2020, Medicaid enrollment increased by 8.6% — an additional 6.1 million people, for a total of 77.3 million.

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