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Covering the Uninsured: Options for Reform

Monday, March 02, 2009

Forty-five million Americans were uninsured in 2007. They may have worked for an employer that didn’t offer coverage, or were eligible for coverage on the job but could not pay their share of the premiums. Perhaps they were denied coverage in the individual market. Whatever the reason for not having coverage, their lack of insurance limited their access to care, contributed to poorer health outcomes, and may have led to personal bankruptcy.

Different approaches are being considered for expanding coverage for the uninsured and underinsured in the context of health reform. Understanding the basics of these options, whether they build on the current system or propose to radically change the system, is important for moving the debate forward.

Who are the uninsured and why aren’t they covered? How will each coverage option reduce the rolls of the uninsured? Will they make coverage more affordable? What are the advantages and disadvantages of public versus private plans? What difficulties might one encounter with particular options? What would the cost of various options be to government? To employers? To families?

To address these and related questions, the Alliance for Health Reform and the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured sponsored a March 2 briefing. Speakers were: Diane Rowland, executive director of the Kaiser Commission; Jack Ebeler of Ebeler Consulting; and Bradley Herring, The Johns Hopkins University. Ed Howard of the Alliance and Diane Rowland co-moderated.


 Ed Howard, Alliance for Health Reform, Moderator
 Diane Rowland, Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, Speaker
 Jack Ebeler, Ebeler Consulting, Speaker
 Bradley Herring, The Johns Hopkins University, Speaker
(Click on the camera icon to see a video of the speaker's presentation.)

Transcript, Event Summary and/or Webcast and Podcast

Transcript: Covering the Uninsured: Options for Reform (Adobe Acrobat PDF), 3/2/2009
Event Summary: Covering the Uninsured: Options for Reform (Word Document), 3/2/2009
Full Webcast/Podcast: Covering the Uninsured: Options for Reform

The transcript, full webcast and podcast for this briefing, as well as videos of individual speakers' presentations, are provided by Kaiser Family Foundation.

Speaker Presentations

Herring Presentation (PowerPoint), 3/2/2009
Rowland Presentation (PowerPoint), 3/2/2009
Ebeler Presentation (PowerPoint), 3/2/2009

(If you want to download one or more slides from these presentations, contact us at info@allhealth or click here for instructions.)

Source Materials

Agenda (Adobe Acrobat PDF), , 3/2/2009
Sourcelist (Adobe Acrobat PDF), , 3/2/2009
Speaker Biographies (Adobe Acrobat PDF), , 3/2/2009
Covering the Uninsured: Options for Reform (Word Document), , 3/2/2009

Offsite Materials (briefing documents saved on other websites)

Covering Health Issues, 5th Edition, Chapter 1: Health Reform, Alliance for Health Reform, 2/15/2009
Expanding health insurance coverage and choice: The AMA proposal for reform (Adobe Acrobat PDF),American Medical Association, 7/14/2008
Expanding Health Insurance Coverage and Controlling Costs for Health Care, Congressional Budget Office, 2/10/2009
Expanding Medicaid a Less Costly Way to Cover More Low-Income Uninsured Than Expanding Private , Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 6/26/2008
Falling Behind: Americans’ Access to Medical Care Deteriorates, 2003-2007, Center for Studying Health System Change, 6/26/2008
How Many Are Underinsured? Trends Among U.S. Adults, 2003 and 2007, The Commonwealth Fund, 6/10/2008
Kids with Health Insurance Get Needed Care, While Uninsured Kids Go Without, Cover the Uninsured, 8/14/2008
Sources of Health Insurance and Characteristics of the Uninsured: Analysis of the March 2008, Employee Benefit Research Institute, 9/28/2008
Providing Coverage For All Through Private Health Insurance, The Galen Institute, 12/15/2008
State Health Reform: How States Can Control Costs and Expand Coverage, The Heritage Foundation, 9/22/2008
America’s Uninsured Crisis: Consequences for Health and Health Care, Institute of Medicine, 2/24/2009
The Uninsured and Difference Health Insurance Makes, Kaiser Family Foundation, 9/16/2008
Summary of Findings of 2008 Employer Health Benefit Survey, Kaiser Family Foundation, 9/24/2008
Health Coverage for Low-Income Americans: An Evidence-Based Approach to Public Policy, Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, 10/19/2006
Massachusetts Health Care Reform: Two Years Later , Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, 5/19/2008
Effect of Tying Eligibility for Health Insurance Subsidies to the Federal Poverty Line, Kaiser Family Foundation, 2/15/2007
Approaches to Covering the Uninsured: A Guide, Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, 12/5/2008
The Uninsured: A Primer, Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, 10/15/2008
State Health Programs To Cover The Uninsured, National Conference of State Legislatures, 1/23/2009
Understanding the Uninsured: Tailoring Policy Solutions for Different Subpopulations (Adobe Acrobat PDF),National Institute for Health Care Management, 4/25/2008
Testimony of Katherine Baicker, Senate Finance Committee, 7/31/2008
Health Care: How does the employer-sponsored insurance exclusion affect coverage?, Tax Policy Center, 4/9/2008


Jack Ebeler of Ebeler Consulting reviewed several ways to expand coverage at the March 2 briefing cosponsored by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. (12 min.)

Bradley Herring of The Johns Hopkins University dissected several proposal for health coverage expansion at the March 2 briefing cosponsored by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. (14 min.)

Diane Rowland, executive director of the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, discussed who is uninsured and why coverage matters as co-moderator at the March 2 briefing cosponsored by the commission. (10 min.)


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