New Directions for Health Insurance Design: Implications for Public Health Policy and Practice
Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 2003 Winter; 31(4, Supplement): 94-103
National attention on issues of public health preparedness necessarily brings into sharp focus the question of how to assure adequate, community-wide health care financing for preventive, acute care, and long-term medical care responses to public health threats. In the U.S., public and private health insurance represents the principal means by which medical care is financed. Beyond the threshold challenge of the many persons without any, or a stable form of, coverage lie challenges related to the structure and characteristics of health insurance itself, particularly the commercial industry and its newly emerging market of consumer-driven health plans. States vary significantly in how they approach the regulation of insurance and in their willingness to support various types of insurance markets. This variation is attributable to the size and robustness of the insurance market, the political environment, and regulatory tradition and custom. Reconciling health insurance markets with public health-related health care financing needs arising from public health threats should be viewed as a major dimension of national health reform.
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