Health Insurance Reform Project Identifies New Ideas to Improve Federal Health Policy - Voluntary Chronic Care Improvement Programs and Tax Credits

Health Insurance Reform Project: Medicare, access, and quality

The Health Insurance Reform Project (HIRP) worked to develop and advance new ideas to improve federal health policy, focusing primarily on improving quality in Medicare and expanding health insurance coverage nationally. Project staff identified ideas that could move policy forward, convened seven meetings of leading experts and developed 22 publications (14 journal articles, two book chapters, four issue briefs and two reports) to advance the ideas.

The project helped conceptualize voluntary chronic care improvement programs as a way to improve quality performance for Medicare. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) designed the programs to serve people who are enrolled in fee-for-service Medicare and who have multiple chronic conditions, including congestive heart failure and complex diabetes. Congress authorized development and testing of voluntary chronic care improvement programs in the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003.

The project also brought the concept of tax credits to expand health insurance coverage to the uninsured into the policy debate and stimulated discussion on the ways in which tax credits could be used to cover low-income people.

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