The rising number of uninsured, who they are and how they might obtain health insurance coverage were much debated during the consideration and passage of health reform in the last year. In the meantime, rising unemployment rates and an economic recession have exacerbated the declines in health insurance coverage. According to the Current Population Survey, 50 million Americans were uninsured for all of 2009. The Medicaid and CHIP programs have offered a safety net of coverage for some of those facing financial hardship and have helped to prevent more people from being uninsured. Even as they continue to face severely strained budgets, states are enrolling record numbers of beneficiaries in Medicaid.
With state revenues lagging and state budgets required to be balanced, how are states responding to the challenge of insuring the uninsured? How does the continued rise in the uninsured affect different regions of the country? What assistance has the federal government provided? How will the health reform law address these issues, and when? What is the federal government doing now as health reform implementation continues to move forward towards 2014?
To address these and related questions, the Alliance for Health Reform and the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured sponsored a December 6 briefing. Panelists were: John Holahan, Urban Institute; Sherry Glied, assistant secretary for planning and evaluation, HHS; Janet Olszewski, Michigan Department of Community Health; and Kimberly Belshe, California Health and Human Services Agency. Ed Howard of the Alliance and Diane Rowland of the Kaiser Commission co-moderated. A new analysis of the uninsured by Mr. Holohan was published December 6 by the journal Health Affairs.
Full Transcript (Adobe Acrobat PDF)
Agenda (Adobe Acrobat PDF)