Medicaid Undone? Covering the Safety Net’s New Future

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The GOP’s House and Senate health reform bills both call for a massive restructuring of Medicaid that could lead to unprecedented funding cuts as states are forced to shrink their programs or make cuts elsewhere. But even if the latest plans founder in the Senate, governors and health officials in conservative states are pursuing a number of Medicaid changes — such as work requirements, drug tests, and premiums for beneficiaries — through federal waivers. Such changes are being met with a newly receptive audience at Centers for Medicaid and Medicare, an agency now run by one of the architects of Indiana’s oft-cited conservative Medicaid program. How might these conservative-led reforms change state Medicaid programs for decades to come? And how will the bills in Congress reshape Medicaid if they win passage? With this webinar, we’ll give participants the policy primer they need to understand such historic changes. We’ll also highlight story ideas reporters can pursue as these reforms play out on both the federal and state levels.

Webinars are free and made possible by the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation.



Edwin Park is vice president for health policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, where he focuses on Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and issues related to federal health reform. He also analyzes federal tax policies related to health care, state regulation of the private health insurance market, and issues related to Medicare financing, low-income Medicare beneficiaries, private plans in Medicare, and prescription drugs. Park has testified before Congress, been interviewed on NPR and CNBC, and has been quoted in publications such as The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and Los Angeles Times. Prior to coming to the Center in 2001, he served as the health policy advisor for the National Economic Council. He also has worked as a Medicaid professional staff member for the U.S. Senate Finance Committee and as an attorney in private practice specializing in health law. He has a J.D. from Harvard Law School and an A.B. in Public and International Affairs from Princeton University.


Kathleen Nolan is a managing principal at Health Management Associates. Previously, she served for 12 years as director of state policy and programs for the National Association of Medicaid Directors, and as division director of health for the National Governors Association. In both roles, she was a respected voice for governors and Medicaid directors in health policy discussions, industry forums and the media. She convened national and state leaders to foster collaboration, find common ground, share practices and lessons, and advance implementation of health care reform. Nolan has also held senior health policy positions with the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and the Institute of Medicine. Before moving to Washington, she was a regulatory and legislative affairs program specialist for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Nolan earned her master’s degree in public health from the George Washington University, and her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota.


Lauren Sausser is a health care editor and reporter at The Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina. She previously worked as a journalist in Georgia, New Hampshire and Washington, D.C. She graduated from Clemson University in 2005 with an English degree and from Columbia University in 2010 with a graduate degree in journalism. Her work has been recognized with awards from the Association of Health Care Journalists, the Society of Professional Journalists and the South Carolina Press Association. “She has opened our eyes in the newsroom about what healthcare journalism can be,” The Post and Courier’s executive editor has remarked.





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