Issue Brief

No. 803

Local Coverage Initiatives: Solution or Band-Aid for the Uninsured?
June 29, 2005


Jennifer Ryan


This issue brief surveys health coverage expansion initiatives that are operating on the county or local level, often without the benefit of federal funding. The paper explores the circumstances that have made these initiatives possible and considers the ongoing barriers that local policymakers face in sustaining the programs. Descriptions of four initiatives illustrate the range and variety of programs in operation today and offer both best practices and lessons learned for other communities. The paper also includes a brief analysis of the key elements that make up a successful coverage initiative. Finally, this issue brief considers the role of local and county-based initiatives in the context of overall health care delivery in the national policy framework, highlighting the prospects for sustainability and replication on a broader scale.

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