Web Briefing: Early Impacts of the Medicaid Expansion for the Homeless Population

The Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion provides a significant opportunity to increase health coverage and improve access to care for individuals experiencing homelessness, who historically have had high uninsured rates and often have multiple, complex physical and mental health needs.

On Monday, December 15, 2014, the Kaiser Family Foundation hosted a web briefing to examine the early impacts of the ACA’s Medicaid expansion on the homeless population, as well as opportunities and challenges looking forward.  The briefing, drawing upon the recent paper, Early Impacts of the Medicaid Expansion for the Homeless Population, highlighted key findings for both the homeless population and providers gleaned from focus groups conducted with administrators, providers, and enrollment workers at sites serving homeless individuals in five cities.  Sites in four of the cities — Albuquerque, Baltimore, Chicago and Portland, OR – are in states that have expanded Medicaid under the ACA, while the fifth site, in Jacksonville, FL, is in a state that has not.

Samantha Artiga, Director of the Foundation’s Disparities Policy Project and an Associate Director of the Foundation’s Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, moderated the briefing, with key findings presented by Barbara DiPietro, Director of Policy for the National Health Care for the Homeless Council.  Both women are co-authors of the recent report.

A panel of individuals serving the homeless population, including a site administrator, a medical director and an outreach worker, shared their perspectives and priorities looking ahead:

  • Kascadare Causeya, Program Manager, Benefits & Entitlements Specialist Team; Central City Concern; Portland, Oregon
  • Nilesh Kalyanaraman, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Health Care for the Homeless; Baltimore, Maryland
  • Karen Batia, Executive Director, Heartland Health Outreach and CEO, Together4Health Chicago, Illinois

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