Fundamentals Briefing

Understanding Medicare and Medicaid: Fundamentals and Issues for the New Congress
January 15–16, 2009


Christie Provost Peters, Jennifer Ryan & Mary Ellen Stahlman


This invitation-only, two day seminar for congressional health staff on the fundamentals of Medicare, Medicaid, and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) featured experts from the Government Accountability Office, Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, in addition to other public and private entities. Speakers described and explained the basics of the structural and financial underpinnings of Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP, as well as issues likely to be addressed by the new Congress, such as health care spending, Medicare payment, Medicaid financing and SCHIP reauthorization. A briefing book was prepared for the seminar, containing links to the sessions’ presentations and handouts as well as to additional reports, Web sites, and other resources.

In 2015, a new version of this series was conducted; please see its briefing book here.

Related Materials

For more on the fundamentals of Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP, see the following Forum publications: "Medicare" (The Basics, January 4, 2016), "The Medicare Drug Benefit (Part D)" (The Basics, January 4, 2016), "Medicaid Eligibility and Benefits" (The Basics, January 5, 2016), "Medicaid Financing" (The Basics, January 5, 2016), and "The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP): The Fundamentals" (Background Paper No. 68, April 23, 2009).

See also the entries for the follow-up sessions "The World of Prescription Drugs: Approvals, Pricing, and Purchasing" (January 30, 2009), "Medicaid, Employers, and Medigap: Wrapping Around Medicare" (February 6, 2009), and "Comparative Effectiveness: What Is It? Who Does It? And Where Is It Going?" (February 13, 2009).

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