State of Reform

Lab Report #1: Evaluating State Efforts to Improve Access to Health Care

Paths that other countries have taken to design their health care systems have gained increased attention as the nation continues to focus on health reform. According to a new report released today, however, reformers should look closer to home for important lessons learned on what strategies work and don’t work for reforming our nation’s health care system. Drafted by researchers from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded (RWJF) State Health Access Reform Evaluation (SHARE) project, the report reveals key lessons from efforts in Wisconsin, Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, Illinois, New York and New Mexico.

SHARE supports the evaluation of state health reforms to help inform future health reform efforts. SHARE grantees are in the process of releasing preliminary findings from their evaluations. The brief being released today provides a synthesis of lessons learned including:

  1. Simplifying the enrollment process for public programs promotes increases in enrollment for the currently eligible.
  2. Keeping public programs affordable encourages enrollment.
  3. Expanding public program eligibility doesn’t necessarily lead to a drop in employer-sponsored coverage (i.e., crowd-out).
  4. A significant administrative burden for employers in three-share programs can deter their participation.