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List of featured health care policy topics. To learn more on a topic, click on the topic or choose an item displayed under each collection.
Health care spending in the U.S. accounts for 17% of the economy. As a result, there is great attention to how health care dollars are spent and efforts to control the rise in spending at the national, state, private, and individual levels. The resources in this section focus on the latest data, trends, and analysis regarding health care costs and spending in the U.S.
The health care delivery system touches nearly all people, and there are many efforts under way across the United States aimed at improving the quality of care provided in the system. This includes developing the information base for clinical decisions as well as erecting new delivery models and payment incentives to improve quality and lower costs. This section covers a number of timely delivery system issues, including measuring and improving the quality of medical care, the capacity of the health workforce, and the role of information technology.
Global health has emerged as a growing field of study, research, and practice that refers to the goal of improving health and achieving equity in health for all people worldwide. The materials in this section discuss major areas of work underway in global health as well as financing of global health initiatives.
Health and the government intersect on many levels – through laws created by the federal and state legislative bodies, rulings within the judicial system, regulations drafted by federal and state agencies, and laws and measures that are put to public votes. Health care policy is shaped through a combination of all of these decision-making arenas at the local, state and federal levels. This section provides information on how the different levels of government affect the health care system.
On March 23, 2010, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law. This new health reform law is broad and makes changes to several areas of the health system, including a requirement for most Americans to have some form of health coverage by 2014. The materials in this section provide an overview of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and its effects on major health programs and populations.
HIV/AIDS has become one of the world’s most serious health and development challenges. The epidemic has taken a toll on nations worldwide, including the United States, where it is estimated that every 9½ minutes, someone is infected with HIV. This topic focuses on the impact of the HIV epidemic on populations in the U.S. and abroad.
Americans receive their health care coverage from a variety of sources including private insurance provided through their employment or purchased on their own, and public insurance programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. The materials in this section focus on the role of health insurance, particularly the private market, challenges facing the nation's uninsured, and changes under health reform.
Medicaid is the major public health insurance program for low-income Americans. Operated jointly by the federal government and each state, the program provides coverage for health and long-term care services to over 50 million people. The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) was enacted in 1997 to cover uninsured low-income children who do not qualify for Medicaid. The information in this area covers the role of the Medicaid and SCHIP programs.
Medicare is the federal program created in 1965 that provides health virtually everyone age 65 and older and millions of younger adults with permanent disabilities. Medicare plays a vital role in helping to provide health care access and financial security to the nation’s senior population. This section contains resources on the basics of the Medicare program, individuals covered by Medicare, the program’s role under the 2010 health reform law, and current options to reform the Medicare program.
About 1 in 3 residents of the United States identify as African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific American, or Latino. Extensive research has found that racial/ethnic background is associated with health status, insurance coverage, and access and quality, with people of color consistently faring poorer on many health outcomes. Eliminating these disparities has become a national priority. This section contains links to resources on racial and ethnic disparities in health care.
Women's health policy cuts across many sectors of the health care financing and delivery system, including reproductive health policy, reforms to publicly-financed health programs, as well as private sector efforts to contain costs and improve health. This section focuses on how women’s health needs intersect with major health policy issues.