Area of Research

Medicaid, SCHIP and Other Public and Waiver Programs

Researchers at the PPC evaluate programs such as the Iowa Medicaid managed care program, the Family Planning Waiver program and the IowaCare health care program. Since 1991 the evaluation of public programs has been a cornerstone of the PPC Health Research Program. The work we do provides data to answer questions regarding the relevance and effectiveness of each program, as well as other questions for those interested in understanding health care today.

Medicaid, SCHIP and other public and waiver programs provide needed services to people who otherwise have trouble getting health insurance. Compared to the general population most of the groups covered under these programs are at a significant disadvantage in the health care market. In addition, most programs have populations with special needs due to the long-term lack of health care coverage. The result can be physical or mental health challenges that put individuals at increased need for care. Recent programs within Iowa have provided expanded coverage to children, extended family planning resources to women, and ensured that health care is available for adults that do not otherwise qualify for public insurance.

A variety of methods are used for evaluating programs—from outcome analysis, to surveys, to focus groups—in an effort to attain the most comprehensive understanding possible. Though data on similar programs are available in other states, there is no substitute for relevant local evaluation in determining the immediate and long-term effects of a new program. Such monitoring allows researchers and policy makers alike to identify positive and negative aspects of the program in a timely manner.