Starter Reading List

Starter Reading List

Don’t know where to start? Below are our top reads to get up to speed on the development of a public option.

  • Expanding Health Insurance Through a Public Option—Choices and Trade-Offs (JAMA, 2021). This 2021 JAMA Health Forum Insight by Suhas Gondi and Zirui Song of Harvard Medical School highlights three fundamental policy choices for policymakers designing a public health insurance option: who is eligible, what benefits are covered, and how providers would be paid. It discusses the tradeoffs that come from different ways to answer these questions and the competing goals that policymakers can pursue. You can read more about public option policy goals on our website.
  • Options for Designing a Public Option (RAND, 2020). This 2020 blog highlights the key takeaways from a RAND quantitative analysis evaluating how alternative versions of a federal public option would affect coverage and cost. RAND’s analysis shows that public options can have different impacts across different segments of the population, states, and market environments and suggests that policymakers must be attuned to these potential effects when crafting a new public option. You can read more about public option design considerations here.
  • 10 Key Questions on Public Option Proposals (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2019). This 2019 Kaiser Family Foundation issue brief walks through several federal public option proposals and identifies ten key questions these proposals raise. These questions include how a public option would impact employer-sponsored and other private insurance coverage, as well as Medicare and Medicaid as well as and what we know about the cost of various public option proposals. More information about current federal efforts to adopt a public option is available here.
  • Congressional Proposals for a Federal Public Health Insurance Options (The Commonwealth Fund, 2022). Democrats in Congress have put forward several proposals to create a public health insurance option over the past decade. In this blog for The Commonwealth Fund, CHIR faculty summarize the main features of four bills from the 117th Congress that would establish new public option plans.
  • State Public Option–Style Laws: What Policymakers Need to Know (The Commonwealth Fund, 2021). This 2021 blog for the Commonwealth Fund by CHIR experts summarizes recent action to adopt public option-style laws in Washington, Nevada, and Colorado. The blog discusses common challenges faced across the states and the similarities and differences in how the states sought to tackle them, and can inform similar efforts in other states and Congress. Find more information here about state efforts to adopt public option laws.

Want to learn more? Check out our resources for more information or head straight to our public option design considerations.

We Are Here to Help

Our goal is to help policymakers consider and understand public option proposals. Policymakers and staff can contact our team about a specific question or with a broader request for technical assistance. Our experts are available to review materials and consult on policy solutions.

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