Did you know that more than 300 million people live in the United States today? With such a large and constantly growing population, it naturally takes many health care professionals and organizations to keep us all in good health. With so many partners working together, it's important to not only keep track of each health agency's role, but also understand why they matter to your wellbeing, and the wellbeing of your family and your friends. Luckily, I can help you there.
Today, let's take a look at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency that strives to promote quality care at lower prices for all Americans.
What is CMS?
The Social Security Administration initially took charge of managing Medicare, however, administrative shuffling in 1977 put this task on the newly-formed Health Care Financing Agency. Today, the HCFA is known as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a subdivision of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. From its headquarters in Baltimore and its 10 regional field offices spanning from Boston to San Francisco, CMS oversees many of the United States' most important public health care programs, including its namesakes Medicare and Medicaid as well as several other key services. Together, these programs make up the infrastructure that exists to ensure that quality health care and coverage remains a reality for all Americans.
What Does CMS Do?
CMS's 6,000 employees facilitate easy and affordable access to health services for those who need it. Of course, CMS operates Medicare and Medicaid, which provide health coverage to senior citizens and low income families, respectively. But, did you know that CMS also manages several other key programs?
- Children's Health Insurance Program, a program that offers matching funds to states for health insurance for kids, providing low-cost coverage to children in families that earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid.
- Health Insurance Marketplace, an online platform that individuals, families and businesses can use to find the best and most affordable health insurance options available.
Why Does CMS Matter?
Accessible health care is one of the most important services available to American citizens. While we sometimes underestimate its true worth, millions of people around the world look upon America's public health and covet what we've grown accustomed to, thanks to organizations like CMS. When a senior citizen needs help accessing special care, CMS can help. When a family struggles to make ends meet but wants to ensure they have health insurance, CMS can help them, too. And when someone needs insurance to best suit their health, family size or income -- you may have guessed -- CMS can help. For all of these reasons and many more, CMS is a critical and valuable part to America's health care system.
With 1 in 3 Americans currently relying on one of their services, it's important that CMS's work be done efficiently, correctly and with a quality that's second to none. From east to west and top to bottom, CMS continually helps Americans get the health care they need in the manner that works best for them.