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Medicare and Medicaid at 50

With Medicare and Medicaid turning 50 this year, this updated video provides a brief history of both programs, including: an examination of the health care, social and political landscape that gave rise to them, the significant ways each program has evolved over five decades, and the important roles they play in the U.S. health care system. The video includes archival footage, as well as commentary and perspective from policymakers, government officials and experts.

Gender Differences in Health Care, Status, and Use: Spotlight on Men’s Health

This slideshow presents findings from the 2013 Kaiser Men’s and Women’s Health Survey on men’s health care, access and coverage, and draws comparisons to women’s health care. The slideshow also presents findings for low-income and uninsured men, including financial barriers to care, frequency of clinician visits, use of prescription drugs, and the likelihood of getting counseling and screenings, such as HIV tests.

Awaiting New Medicaid Managed Care Rules: Key Issues to Watch

More than half of all Medicaid beneficiaries now receive their services in risk-based managed care plans, and states’ use of managed care is expanding. States operate their own Medicaid managed care programs within federal rules and requirements. The federal regulations were last updated in 2002 and a new proposed rule is expected in Spring 2015. This brief identifies key issues in the regulation and discusses how CMS might address them.

Community Health Centers: A 2013 Profile and Prospects as ACA Implementation Proceeds

Community health centers are an integral part of the health care safety-net, providing access to care for nearly 22 million people in underserved communities. The ACA established trust fund for health center growth, and with increased patient revenues attributable to expanded coverage, health centers’ grant funding to support care of the uninsured can go further. This brief provides a 2013 data profile of health centers; highlights pre-ACA differences between health centers in Medicaid expansion and non-expansion states; and considers financial challenges facing health centers and the implications of state Medicaid decisions, the outcome of King v. Burwell, and the approaching sunset of the special trust fund for health centers’ capacity to ensure access to care for the communities they serve.

Medicare Spending Cuts and Hospital Productivity Gains

In his latest column for The Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank, Drew Altman and guest co-author Dana Goldman examine hospital productivity gains, and what they may mean for hospitals’ ability to absorb spending reductions. All previous columns by Drew Altman are available online.

Medicare Spending Cuts and Hospital Productivity Gains

In this column for The Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank, Drew Altman and guest co-author Dana Goldman examine hospital productivity gains, and what they may mean for hospitals’ ability to absorb spending reductions.

Safety-Net Emergency Departments: A Look at Current Experiences and Challenges

Safety-net hospital emergency departments (EDs) are an important part of our health care system, especially, but not only, for the uninsured and others with low income. With multiple major changes unfolding in our system today, including the development of new models of health care delivery, payment reforms, expanded insurance coverage, and increasing demand for primary care access, safety-net EDs are a sort of crucible in which these shifts and transitions can be seen playing out. To understand more about their current experiences and challenges as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) begins to takes hold, we conducted interviews with ED directors in a convenience sample of 15 safety-net hospitals around the country in June and July 2014.

Federal and State Standards for “Essential Community Providers” under the ACA and Implications for Women’s Health

Safety net providers such as community health centers and family planning clinics have served a significant role in the provision of primary care and reproductive health care services to low-income and uninsured people, particularly women. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has a provision aimed at assuring that newly-insured individuals, as well as those without coverage, can continue seeing their trusted safety net providers, also called Essential Community Providers (ECPs). This brief reviews the definition of ECPs, examines the federal and state rules that govern the extent to which plans must include these providers in their networks, identifies the variation from state to state, and discusses the particular importance of these rules and providers for women’s access to care.

Abortion Coverage in Marketplace Plans, 2015

This brief analyzes state policies and insurer coverage decisions affecting the availability of abortion coverage in 2015 insurance plans offered through the Marketplaces. It finds that abortion coverage is unavailable in a total of 31 states, 24 of which have enacted laws that ban or restrict abortion coverage in plans sold through their Marketplaces and 7 of which have no abortion coverage restrictions but also have no Marketplace plans offering it.

Tapping Nurse Practitioners to Meet Rising Demand for Primary Care

More than 58 million Americans, or nearly 1 in 5, live in primary care shortage areas, where the supply of primary care physicians is not sufficient to meet the needs of the population. Particularly as the demand for primary care increases due to population growth, aging, and expanded insurance coverage, strategies to mitigate already sharp strains on primary care capacity are needed. This brief focuses on the opportunity to more fully tap the potential of nurse practitioners to increase access to primary care.