Recent Releases In Health Policy Research
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: "Emergency Department Visits in Massachusetts" This policy brief examines why the number of people in Massachusetts who seek care in emergency rooms has remained high even though "health reform in Massachusetts has succeeded in increasing health insurance coverage and access to care." An analysis of survey responses from more than 4,000 adults found that the respondents said they went to the ER for non-emergency room care because of their "need to get care after normal operating hours" (75.7%) and their "inability to get an appointment with a doctor or other provider as soon as needed" (55.8%). The researchers also report, "[N]early all (87.9%) of Massachusetts' most frequent emergency room visitors-those who use the emergency room three or more times per year-reported problems with their health or a disability" (Long and Stockley, 9/24).
Kaiser Family Foundation: "Immigrants' Health Coverage and Health Reform: Key Questions and Answers" This issue brief examines how legal and undocumented immigrants would fare under the Democratic health reform proposals being considered in Congress. Undocumented immigrants would not be eligible for "federal subsidies through the newly created exchange(s) regardless of their incomes" nor could they qualify for "Medicaid and CHIP, except for emergency services for those who would otherwise qualify for Medicaid." However, the brief notes that the three proposals in the House and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions bill differ in how they set the eligibility for undocumented immigrants who wish to use their funds to enter health insurance exchanges. The bill being considered by the Senate Finance Committee would not allow undocumented immigrants to buy coverage on the exchange, even with their own funds.
Under the proposals, "Medicaid would continue to be restricted for legal noncitizens during their first five years in the U.S.," however during this period "uninsured legal non-citizens without access to employer-based insurance could obtain coverage through the exchange(s) and access federal subsidies to make that coverage more affordable if they meet income eligibility requirements" (Artiga and Tolbert, Sept. 2009).
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: "Using Information from Income Tax Forms to Target Medicaid and CHIP Outreach" This brief examines efforts undertaken by the state of Maryland to use the state's personal income tax system to identify children that were eligible for Medicaid/CHIP made possible by the Kids First Act. Such efforts led state health officials "to identify and target 27 percent of the state's 1.4 million children who may be eligible for public health insurance" (Idala, Roddy, Milligan, Sommers, Boddie-Willis, Clark and Dorn, 9/28).
Kaiser Family Foundation: "Medicare Savings in Perspective: A Comparison of 2009 Health Reform Legislation and Other Laws in the Last 15 Years" This brief examines how provisions in the health reform legislation drafted by three House committees and Senate Finance Committee would affect Medicare program expenditures. "The analysis calculates net changes in 10-year projected Medicare expenditures estimated at the time each law was enacted as a share of the contemporaneous projected Medicare baseline spending," in an attempt to "illustrate the relative magnitude of each law's effect on Medicare expenditures as projected at the time of enactment," according to a Kaiser Family Foundation description of the brief (Sept. 2009).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.