A Reporter’s Toolkit: Child Health Coverage

This toolkit, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, offers links to resources that will help you understand how children in the U.S. get health coverage, and the importance of employer-sponsored coverage and public programs to children. We offer an overview of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), with an update on congressional reauthorization of the program. This resource also offers key facts, story ideas for reporters, selected experts with contact information, selected websites, and a glossary.

A Reporter’s Toolkit: Medicaid

A Reporter’s Toolkit: Medicaid This toolkit, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, will help you understand who the Medicaid program covers, how it is financed, how it differs from Medicare, how states can alter Medicaid through federal waivers, and what the future holds for the program. This resource also offers key facts, brief background, story ideas, selected experts with contact information, selected websites and a glossary.

A Reporter’s Toolkit: The Uninsured

This toolkit, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is designed for reporters covering health issues during Campaign 2008, but will be useful for others looking for up-to-date resources on the uninsured. The toolkit features dozens of links to useful websites and articles, including links to websites tracking presidential candidates’ health reform plans. It also includes key facts, background, story ideas, lists of experts and websites, and a glossary.

Changing the Culture and Improving Quality: Innovations in Long-Term Care

Culture change in the long-term care world involves many players – residents, administrators, workers, lawmakers, policy analysts – sharing a common vision. One such vision attracting attention has been developed by a group of citizens, providers and advocates known as Pioneers who are exploring alternatives to traditional nursing facilities. Their goal: facilities that are resident-centered, less institutional and more home-like. This involves trying to piece together financing from Medicaid, Medicare and private funding sources.

Crowd-out and SCHIP

Congress and the White House are gridlocked on SCHIP reauthorization beyond November. President Bush has vetoed the first SCHIP bill to cross his desk. CMS has issued tough new rules governing when states can open up their SCHIP programs to children above 200 percent of the federal poverty. One reason for all of the above: crowd-out – the phenomenon of people dropping private health coverage when public coverage becomes more easily available. This toolkit, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, helps explain why crowd-out occurs and offers links to late-breaking developments affecting SCHIP enrollment. A list of experts and websites is also included.

Massachusetts Health Reform

Starting July 1, every adult in Massachusetts is required to have health coverage (except for 60,000 people exempted by the state). This toolkit, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is designed to help you understand the state's pace-setting near-universal coverage plan and its implications, with links to representative articles and documents from across the ideological spectrum. You will also find a list of selected experts and websites. We recommend these articles and experts to you, and welcome your suggestions for additions to our list. You may email those to info@allhealth.org

State Health Initiatives: What’s Next?

New initiatives are cropping up in one state after another aimed at helping the uninsured. The most comprehensive efforts have been in Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has attracted national attention for his plan to cover virtually all in that state, and legislative leaders have their own plans. But many other states are also moving toward expanded coverage.

Which Way To Turn? Options for Rebuilding the Gulf Region’s Health Infrastructure

More than two years after hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf region and destroyed large swaths of New Orleans, local and federal officials are trying to determine the appropriate approach to rebuilding the health care system. Prior to Katrina, Louisiana’s health care infrastructure was a two-tiered system. The middle class relied largely on the private health care system while the poor relied on a state-sponsored hospital network known as the “Charity” system.

Medicaid 101: A Primer on the Health Insurance Program for Low-Income Americans

Medicaid is a joint state and federal program. It covers nearly 55 million individuals – children, adults with children, elderly and disabled individuals and cost nearly $300 billion in combined state and federal spending in 2006. Whom does Medicaid serve? What benefits does Medicaid cover? How is it financed? What is the nature of the federal and state partnership?

SCHIP and Beyond: Improving Health Care Coverage and Quality for Children

Dollar for dollar, providing better health care for children represents one of the best returns on investment available in the U.S. This involves not only better monitoring of quality and making quality improvements, but also enrolling eligible children in health programs such as SCHIP and Medicaid. And it means ensuring that health care systems – including safety net providers and health insurers – are responsive to the unique health needs of children.

Reaching Out: Enrolling and Keeping Kids in the SCHIP Program

By some estimates, almost three-fourths of America’s nine million uninsured children are eligible for either State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) or Medicaid. As Congress begins debating the reauthorization of the program in earnest, policymakers are examining what is keeping these children from enrolling.

SCHIP: Let the Discussions Begin

Authorization for SCHIP expires this September, and, in the coming months, Congress will be debating the program’s extension. Established in 1997 with an authorized 10-year funding level of $40 billion, SCHIP’s accomplishments in providing coverage to an estimated six million children are now widely acknowledged. SCHIP pursues its relatively simple goal – broader coverage for low- and moderate-income children – through a relatively complicated structure. So before key decisions can be made about the program’s future, it is important to have a baseline understanding of what makes the program work.

Health Legislation 2007-2008: What’s Possible?

Suddenly, Capitol Hill is talking about health issues again. Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi promises that Democrats will roll back the prohibition against the federal government negotiating drug prices on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries. (A Kaiser Family Foundation poll released today found broad bipartisan support for this idea.) Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says one of his three top priorities will be more funding for stem cell research. Others want to revisit the importation of prescription drugs from Canada. Additionally, the 110th Congress will consider whether to continue the State Children’s Health Insurance Program in its present form.

Prospects for Health Care: Where Will New Congressional Leadership Take Us?

Come January, we can expect to see some new approaches to health legislation. Sen. Harry Reid, incoming Senate majority leader, says one of his top three priorities will be more funding for stem cell research. House Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi wants a vote early on to roll back the prohibition against the federal government negotiating prescription drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries. And these are just two of the health issues likely to be debated in the new Congress. The White House too will have a definite voice in the debates to come.

Who Cares What Patients Think?

The growing complexity of our health care system, and time demands on providers, can cause patients’ non-obvious needs to get lost in the shuffle. Sometimes, the result can be less-than-optimal care. In response, providers are trying to be more responsive to patients’ cultural traditions, family situations, personal preferences and values. Some have tagged this movement “patient-centered care.”

46.6 Million and Counting: A Look Behind the Number of Uninsured Americans

The Census Bureau’s recently released figure on the number of uninsured in 2005 is 46.6 million, an increase of 1.3 million people over 2004. Two new studies by John Holahan and Bowen Garrett of the Urban Institute offer in-depth analyses of the economic and demographic factors that underlie this troubling statistic.

Improving Coverage Stability For Kids in Medicaid and SCHIP

One byproduct of the patchwork system of public and private health insurance coverage in the United States is that individuals can gain or lose health insurance as they gain or lose jobs, or gain or lose eligibility for public programs. This phenomenon, known as “churning,” can lead to gaps in health insurance coverage and unnecessary administrative costs for state governments that have to process the same individuals repeatedly.

Beyond the $10 Aspirin: How Well Does Our Hospital Financing System Work?

As health care tabs rise, every American feels the impact – on personal finances, company budgets, state coffers and federal entitlement programs. Rising demands for services from an aging population, medical advances, and quality imperatives all impact health care costs. Within this context, it is important to understand how various sectors of our health care system price services and account for costs.

Safeguarding the Health of Katrina’s Victims

With New Orleans largely evacuated and hundreds of thousands of people separated from their regular health care providers, how will Hurricane Katrina’s evacuees attend to their health and health care needs?

Health Services for Children: The Role of Medicaid and Its Benefit Package

The National Governors’ Association recently made a series of recommendations that would give states more flexibility in administering Medicaid benefits. In addition, the Medicaid Commission has been tasked with the short-term objective of developing policy options to achieve program savings, and Congress will soon consider changes to Medicaid that could include modifications to Medicaid’s benefits as well.

Understanding Medicaid

With rapidly rising health care costs and pressures on both federal and state budgets as a backdrop, lawmakers are considering a variety of changes to Medicaid this year. This briefing will offer a chance to learn more about the fundamentals of Medicaid, for those who would like to brush up on their knowledge as well as those new to the subject.