Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Population Health and Health Policy

Expanding Rural Health Insurance Coverage: How Do Insurance Reform Strategies Stack Up?

Duration: 
1/1/2007 - 1/31/2008
Principal Investigator: 
David Hartley
Abstract: 

<p>There is renewed interest in health insurance reform at both the state and federal level due to the continuing erosion of private insurance coverage and continuing increases in the number of uninsured. The purpose of this study is to inform policymakers about the current state of health insurance coverage in rural America, and to identify how specific reform strategies may differentially affect rural residents.</p>

<p>Using a combination of analytic strategies, including literature review, secondary data analyses, eligibility simulation models, and policy analyses, we will provide policymakers and rural health advocates with the necessary tools to develop reform strategies that meet the needs of rural residents. We seek to address the following research questions: 1)What does a comprehensive review of the literature and research synthesis reveal about rural-urban differences in health insurance coverage, the factors associated with these differences and how economic and/or policy changes affect these differences? 2) What is the current (as of 2005) status of health insurance coverage among rural residents, and how does this differ by region, socioeconomic status and degree of rurality? and, 3) What are the implications for rural residents of specific features of health insurance reform proposals under consideration at the time of analysis?</p>

Start Date: 
Mon, 2007-01-01
End Date: 
Thu, 2008-01-31
Legacy Muskie ID: 
5087

Cutler Institute awarded $600,000 to help youth raised in foster system

Marty Zanghi

USM's Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy has been awarded a $600,000 grant to help young people raised in Maine's foster system to prepare for college and the workforce.

The money comes from the Annie E. Casey Foundation as part of a $5.4 million national effort aimed at youth who are homeless or in either the foster care or juvenile justice systems.

"Many of these young people have suffered abuse or trauma and were raised in poverty and neglect," said Marty Zanghi, the Cutler Center's youth development director.

The money -- including an expected $400,000 more in matching funds -- will pay for contracted work with agencies in the target areas, starting with the greater Portland area and Penobscot, Kennebec and Somerset counties.

Nationally and in Maine, only about 3 percent of people who grow up in the foster care system achieve a college degree, he said.

"It's dramatically lower than the rate for the general population," Zanghi said. "It's a horrible outcome."

It doesn't have to be that way, though.

"There are young people that overcome these circumstances," he said. "I know people who have master's degrees and Ph.Ds."

The Casey Foundation's national effort is being called the "Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential" (LEAP) initiative.

The initiative is working on partnerships in Maine and nine other areas: Alaska, Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska and New York. In each case, people will adapt two evidence-based models to meet the needs of these youth, including support to address the trauma they may have experienced in their lives.

In Maine, the work will include a pair of successful programs, Jobs for Maine Graduates (JMG) and Jobs for the Future. Results will be carefully tracked, Zanghi said.

After the first year, the program is expected to grow.

"Eventually, the additional help will be available to all children, 14 and over, in the foster care system in the state of Maine," Zanghi said.

Connect With Us