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New Kaiser Resources Examine Expanding Medicaid As A Platform For Health Reform

May 12 , 2009

New Kaiser Resources Examine Expanding Medicaid As A Platform For Health Reform


Chris Lee
(202) 347-5270

Tiffany Ford Fields
(202) 347-5270

The Kaiser Family Foundation released a package of new research today that examines the policy opportunities for expanding Medicaid to cover more low-income and high-need people in ways that would enable the program to serve as a platform for larger national health reform.

As congressional leaders work on proposals for universal coverage, some policymakers have suggested that strengthening Medicaid’s coverage of the poorest Americans and those with special health needs could provide a base for broader health reform efforts to expand coverage, control costs and improve quality. How many of the uninsured should be covered through public programs and how many through private insurance is an issue that policymakers are currently debating in designing health reform legislation.

New resources from the Foundation’s Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured include:

  • Medicaid as a Platform for Broader Health Reform: Supporting High-Need and Low-Income Populations. This paper summarizes the problems that low-income individuals face in today's health care system, describes the structure and coverage of Medicaid and explores how the program could be expanded to cover more people as part of health reform.
  • The Coverage and Cost Impacts of Expanding Medicaid. This paper quantifies the impacts on coverage and cost of expanding Medicaid to cover more of the low-income uninsured, including adults, at various income levels and with improved participation rates.
  • Expanding Health Coverage for Low-Income Adults: Filling the Gaps in Medicaid Eligibility. This policy brief reviews health coverage and key characteristics of non-elderly low-income adults and discusses the implications for national health reform of broadening Medicaid coverage for this population.
  • Community Care of North Carolina: Putting Health Reform Ideas into Practice in Medicaid. This brief examines the structure and experience of Community Care of North Carolina, an enhanced medical home model of care that the state adopted in its Medicaid program to improve care coordination and reduce costs for chronically ill beneficiaries.

The Foundation released the resources at a briefing entitled, “Covering Low-Income and High-Need Americans: Medicaid As A Platform For Health Reform.” It featured John Holahan, Director of the Health Policy Research Center, Urban Institute, who presented key findings; Karen Ignagni, President and CEO, America’s Health Insurance Plans, Alan Weil, Executive Director, National Academy for State Health Policy, and Sheila Burke, Faculty Research Fellow, Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, all of whom offered perspective; and Diane Rowland, Executive Vice-President, Kaiser Family Foundation and Executive Director, Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, who served as moderator.

The new research and an archived webcast of the briefing may be viewed online.


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