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Pulling It Together: Medicare, Medicaid, and The Multiplier Effect

We are witnessing a battle in Washington right now about the future of health care’s two big public programs, Medicare and Medicaid. It’s a budget battle, it’s an ideological battle, it’s a partisan political battle, and while it might not always be obvious following the debate, it’s a high stakes…

Health Reform and the Art of Federalism

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced significant changes to the premiums charged in the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP), aka the “high risk pool” created by the Affordable Care Act. Premiums will now be up to 40% lower depending on the state (in some states…

Peering Into the Black Box of Insurance Rating

Recently, the New York Times reported that private health insurers continue to seek large premium increases despite seeing lower than expected use of medical care and booking record profits. The story highlights a significant problem for health policy: the lack of good, public information about how health insurers manage health…

Who Will be the H&R Block and TurboTax for Health Insurance?

There’s been quite a bit of focus lately insofar as these issues go, anyway on health insurance agents and brokers (sometimes known in the industry as “producers”). They are pushing legislation that has been introduced in Congress and is now being studied by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners that…

Kaiser Health Tracking Poll — June 2011

The June Kaiser Health Tracking Poll examines the opinions of seniors and the public about Medicare and the federal budget deficit, a topic of heightened interest these days as policymakers in Washington focus on ways to bring down Medicare spending as part of efforts to reduce the deficit. The poll…

Enhanced Medicaid Match Rates Expire in June 2011

This fact sheet discusses the role played by the enhanced federal Medicaid matching funds available to states through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), and the implications for state Medicaid programs as that extra assistance expires June 30, 2011. States used the ARRA enhanced Medicaid funding to…

Health Coverage for the Unemployed

This policy brief outlines the challenges facing the unemployed as they seek to remain insured after losing jobs and employer-sponsored health coverage. In May 2011, 13.9 million people in the U.S. were unemployed. Of these, 6.2 million had been unemployed for six months or more and faced limited options to…

CBO’s Estimate of Repealing Exchange Grants: The Importance of Being Effective

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently released an analysis of a bill that would repeal grants to states under the health reform law to help them establish health insurance purchasing exchanges. Not surprisingly, CBO finds that the bill would reduce federal spending due to the fact that expected grants won’t…

Ensuring Access to Care in Medicaid Under Health Reform

This paper examines the key issues raised in a December 2010 roundtable discussion of federal and state officials and experts convened by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured to examine important issues related to ensuring access to care in Medicaid under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act…