Fundamentals Briefing

Health Policy Essentials: Public Health, Medicaid & CHIP, and Private Insurance
February 13, 2015


Jennifer Jenson, MPH, MPP, Sally Coberly, PhD & Lisa Sprague, MBA


This briefing, the second in the Forum's 2015 series of briefings for new congressional staff, provided overviews of three topics: public health, Medicaid and CHIP, and private insurance.

The public health portion of the briefing defined public health; outlined the role and structure of federal, state, and local agencies; introduced key legal authorities; and provided general information on public health financing. It also considered three policy issues: the evolving relationship between public health and health care, health system preparedness to address health threats, and immunization basics.

The Medicaid and CHIP portion of the briefing began with context-setting information about how Medicaid differs from other payers and high-level descriptions of beneficiaries, spending levels, and projections. Statutory authority, program administration, and federal and state roles were spelled out for each program. Other topics included eligibility, benefits and cost sharing, payment and financing, and selected policy issues.

Part three of the briefing provided an overview of the private health insurance market. It described the purpose of insurance, how it is obtained, different types of insurance products, and differences among the large group, small group, and individual markets. The roles of employers and of marketplaces/exchanges were explained, along with state and federal regulation. Potential private insurance-related issues for the 114th Congress were explored.


Sarah A. Lister, DVM, MPH (bio)
Specialist in Public Health and Epidemiology, Congressional Research Service
   Slides: "Public Health: Policy Essentials"

Chris L. Peterson, MPP (bio)
Principal Analyst, Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission

Slides: "Medicaid and CHIP Fundamentals"

Bernadette Fernandez, MPA (bio), Specialist in Health Care Financing; Annie L. Mach, MPH (bio), Analyst in Health Care Financing; and Namrata K. Uberoi, PhD, MPH (bio), Analyst in Health Care Financing
Congressional Research Service
   Slides: "Private Health Insurance"

Related Materials

See the briefing book compiled for this series of Health Policy Essentials briefings, which includes the recordings of presentations (when permission has been given), speakers' slides, reading materials provided, and additional resources.

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