-- this post authored by Richard H. Mattoon and Sarah Wetmore
On April 4, 2016, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and the Civic Federation held a conference to examine how states are lowering the ranks of the uninsured under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) - by expanding Medicaid and through other strategies. The conference also looked at the ACA's impact on delivering health care to traditionally underserved populations.
One of the primary goals of the ACA,1 passed in 2010, has been to expand health care coverage to previously uninsured populations. However, the particular mechanisms for achieving this goal have been largely left up to the states to develop and execute, especially following the Supreme Court's 2012 ruling, which upheld the law's constitutionality but made its provision to expand Medicaid optional.2 Besides discussing how states are implementing the ACA with or without Medicaid expansion, the policymakers, academics, and other experts at the conference focused on the associated challenges of containing health care costs, developing new payment and delivery systems, and reaching traditionally underserved populations, such as low-income people with mental illness or substance abuse problems.
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