With a substantial body of evidence showing that racial and ethnic minorities receive poorer quality care than others, state and federal policy makers are looking for ways to reduce disparities. Some states have begun to experiment with strategies for reducing health disparities.
What can state and federal policy makers do to help reduce racial and ethnic disparities? Do coverage expansions alone solve the problem or do other policies also need to be pursued? What innovations are states experimenting with? What lessons if any can federal policy makers learn from state experience?
To address these and related questions, the Alliance for Health Reform and The Commonwealth Fund sponsored a May 12 briefing. The Commonwealth Fund has released a comprehensive chartbook on racial and ethnic disparities by Dr. Bruce Siegel of George Washington University and others. Researcher Brian Smedley has laid out, in a March – April 2008 Health Affairs article, ways in which disparities can be addressed through state-level health reform. These two publications provide a jumping-off point for the discussion at this briefing.
Joining the two authors above were two congressional staff reactors, Becky Shipp, Senate Finance Committee minority staff, and Caya Lewis, a member of the majority staff of the Senate HELP Committee. Ed Howard of the Alliance and Anne Beal of The Commonwealth Fund co-moderated.
Full Transcript (Adobe Acrobat PDF)
Speaker Biographies (Adobe Acrobat PDF)