Health Reform

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Window of Opportunity?

Beginning this Spring, between expected approval of an economic stimulus package and the start of campaigning for the midterm election, there will be a rare window of opportunity for passage of major health reform legislation. History suggests that momentum can be lost if policymakers do not move quickly to seize…

Pulling It Together: The “R” Word Is Back

Longer ago than I care to admit, I got my start in health policy at M.I.T. when I wrote a book about health care regulation. The book was about a long forgotten attempt to rationalize the health care system through an elaborate health planning program set up in the seventies under the National…

Primers on Key Health Care Topics and Programs

The Kaiser Family Foundation maintains a number of primers providing overviews of key health care programs and issues. Written by Foundation staff, each primer provides key data and information that helps illustrate the topic and its relevance for the nation’s health care system. Medicaid: A Primer Medicare: A Primer The…

Approaches to Covering the Uninsured: A Guide

The guide explains the key strategies for expanding coverage to the nation's 45 million uninsured people and explains and how different policy options can be combined to form comprehensive reform proposals. It organizes the various policy strategies under four overall approaches: strengthening current coverage arrangements, improving the affordability of coverage,…

Health Coverage in a Period of Rising Unemployment

This policy brief reviews the public and private options available to help people maintain coverage if they become unemployed during a downturn and cannot get employer-sponsored coverage through a spouse. Specifically, it examines COBRA, non-group insurance and Medicaid. And it explains why, despite such options, more people will become uninsured…

Pulling It Together: Keeping the Health Reform Coalition Together

We could be headed for a new schism in the debate about health reform. Not the familiar gulf between advocates of the market and government, or the predictable one between deficit hawks and spenders, but a new one that crosses traditional partisan and ideological lines between advocates of long-term reform of the health care delivery…

Health Coverage in an Economic Downturn: Impact of Tight Budgets on Families and States

The economic downturn has strained family finances and prompted some Americans to cut back on medications and forgo preventive care and visits to the doctor. At the same time, the downturn has triggered declines in tax revenue that inhibit states’ ability to meet rising Medicaid program costs as enrollment spikes…

The Fraying Link Between Work and Health Insurance: Trends in Employer-Sponsored Insurance for Employees, 2000-2007

This analysis shows that employer-sponsored coverage began declining after 2000 due to an economic downturn that saw rising unemployment, declining family incomes and more workers moving into temporary work, part-time work and other employment arrangements where health benefits were not provided. Employer-sponsored coverage continued to decline after 2003 despite improvements…

President Obama’s Campaign Position on Health Reform and Other Health Care Issues

During the 2008 Presidential campaign now President Barack Obama announced a comprehensive health care reform proposal and laid out his positions on a number of other key health care issues. The two documents below summarize these campaign policies and positions. They were prepared by the Kaiser Family Foundation with the…

Low-Wage Workers and Health Care

This brief is based on a survey conducted this summer by The Washington Post, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University to focus on the experiences and challenges facing the lowest paid members of the American workforce. Low-wage workers rate “getting more affordable health insurance” as the top priority for…