Publicly Provided Health Insurance for the Nonelderly Poor: Can We Save Money Safely?

With many states and the federal government facing budget deficits, lawmakers across the country are looking to reduce government expendi-tures wherever feasible. In this article, Professor Kaestner examines the current state of publicly provided health insurance and makes several recommendations designed to reduce government spending with respect to two programs: Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Focusing on spending directed at the non-elderly poor, Professor Kaestner argues that significant savings can be achieved in two general areas: reducing the amount of inefficient care and nar-rowing the income range necessary to participate in Medicaid or SCHIP. Professor Kaestner sets forth several specific policy changes designed to generate savings in these two areas, and argues that these savings can be realized without jeopardizing the physical or financial health of the non-elderly poor.

The full text of this Symposium is available to download as a PDF.