untreated dental problems tax our health care system. More than a million Americans a year show up at hospital emergency rooms with nontraumatic dental problems—costing more than $1 billion annually. In Minnesota, about 400,000 preschoolers were brought to hospital emergency rooms with severe oral conditions during a recent five-year period. The visits cost $80 million, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported last year.

Medicaid pays for most of the 1.4 million people in nursing homes... It covers 20 percent of all Americans and 40 percent of poor adults ... A combination of longer life spans and spiraling health care costs has left an estimated 64 percent of the Americans in nursing homes dependent on Medicaid. In Alaska, Mississippi and West Virginia, Medicaid was the primary payer for three-quarters or more of nursing home residents in 2015, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Millwood Hospital is part of America’s largest psychiatric hospital chain, Universal Health Services, or UHS. Its more than 200 psychiatric facilities across the country admitted nearly 450,000 patients last year. The result was almost $7.5 billion in revenues from inpatient care last year and profit margins of around 30%. More than a third of the company’s overall revenue — from both medical hospitals and psychiatric facilities — comes from taxpayers through Medicare and Medicaid.

Researchers are only now beginning to understand how consequential the program has been for the lives of the American poor...The federal government has now recouped much of the original cost of insuring those poor families...because their children have grown up to pay more in taxes and rely less on welfare and other public benefits. As an investment, Medicaid has returned at least 2 percent a year so far...excluding the benefits to patients themselves and focusing only on Uncle Sam's bottom line

Most of the state prison systems in the 31 states that expanded Medicaid have either not created large-scale enrollment programs or operate spotty programs that leave large numbers of exiting inmates — many of whom are chronically ill — without insurance ... Nationwide, 16 state prison systems have no formal procedure to enroll prisoners in Medicaid as they reenter the community ... Nine states have only small programs... These 25 states collectively release some 375,000 inmates each year.

Pharmacists in 26 states are required by law to get patient consent before switching to a generic drug, the authors wrote. This reportedly cost Medicaid $19.8 million dollars in 2006 for just one drug: a statin called simvastatin whose brand name is Zocor. Costs ran higher because pharmacists didn’t get patient consent and Medicaid had to pay for the costlier brand name drug even though a cheaper product was available.