Harvesting the Lessons of State Health Policy

Findings of the first round of State Health Access Reform (SHARE) projects funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), published in a special supplement to HSR: Health Services Research, are synopsized in this article by SHARE Director Lynn A. Blewett and former RWJF Health Policy Fellow Andrew B. Bindman.

The eight "lab reports" cover the following topics:

  • An assessment of the impact of requiring insurers to offer health insurance to adult dependent children up to age 26.
  • Two evaluations: One of New Mexico's State Coverage Insurance programs and one of Rhode Island's Healthpact programs to subsidize insurance for low-income adults.
  • The effect of increased Medicaid reimbursement rates, premium forgiveness and delivery system changes on receipt of preventive care in Idaho and Kentucky.
  • Two studies looking at enrollment system changes—in California and Wisconsin—as a way to increase health coverage.
  • A report on the effect in three states' plans that allow tax-free premiums for individuals working for small employers to purchase insurance.
  • A comparison of changes in coverage and access in Massachusetts and New York—two states that implemented reforms.

These studies highlight the important role states play in health reform that will increase under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as states expand their Medicaid programs and operate their own health insurance exchanges.